When a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck southern Hokkaido, Japan, our 24/7 Global Security Operations Centre took a call from a client requesting assistance for an employee located nearby. Infrastructural and major road damage had been reported, and airports were temporarily closed. After-shocks and landslides were likely. After reaching out to the affected employee and ascertaining his safety, we advised that evacuation would not viable at this time for his own safety. We quickly identified an appropriate English-speaking, earthquake resistant hotel nearby that would be the most secure location to stand fast and ensured that he arrived there safely.
The whole story: On 6th September 2018, a powerful earthquake measuring approximately 6.6 magnitude struck southern Hokkaido, Japan at 03h07 (local time). Multiple roads were damaged and local airports were temporarily closed by the authorities.
Within minutes of the incident occurring, the Healix 24/7 Global Security Operations Centre (GSOC) sent out a mass notification to travellers via the Travel Oracle app:
“Travellers in the vicinity of Tomakomai, Hokkaido prefecture, are advised to anticipate and prepare for aftershocks following a M6.6 earthquake which struck on 6th September at 03h07 (local time). The quake occurred approximately 16 miles (26km) east-south-east of Chitose at a depth of about 19 miles (31km). No tsunami warnings have been issued, but infrastructural damage has been reported. In the event of aftershocks, travellers should adopt a ‘Drop, Cover and Hold’ posture. Do not re-enter damaged buildings, and confirm the viability of travel in the coming hours, including from New Chitose Airport.”
Following the earthquake, the GSOC received a call from a client requesting assistance for an employee located in Hokkaido.
Healix reached out directly to the affected employee. After ascertaining the wellbeing of him and his companions, as well as the status of his food and water supplies, we advised him on earthquake safety protocols in the event of aftershocks. This meant adopting the ‘Drop, Cover and Hold’ approach – dropping to the floor, covering his head and holding onto something sturdy.
Extraction was not viable for his own safety
Extraction was not viable at this time for his own safety, as multiple major roads had been closed due to earthquake damage, landslides and collapsed buildings and aftershocks were likely. At that point we advised him to stand fast at a secure location while we identified an appropriate English-speaking, earthquake-resistant hotels in the employee’s vicinity, in order to ensure their safety. We also scheduled regular two-hourly check-in phone calls with the employee.
An appropriate facility was quickly pinpointed, and we were subsequently informed by the employee that he had reached the location. We advised him that this was the safest place to stay until his scheduled departure flight later in the week. We continued with the regular check-ins until 24 hours had passed since the initial call. At this point, the Healix GSOC was stood down by the client.
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