Firefighting, Hazmat, Technical Rescue

USAR Response to Japan Earthquake and Tsunamis, Part 1

Issue 10 and Volume 164.

BY LARRY COLLINS On March 10, 2011, the tsunami-prone nation of Japan—arguably the most earthquake- and tsunami-prepared nation in the world—was the setting for an epic tsunami tragedy whose effects are still being felt today and whose reverberations will affect tsunami-prone nations for years to come. The Japan earthquake and tsunamis killed nearly 30,000 people (far more would have died had it not been for Japan’s nationwide ultrapreparedness efforts). It was perhaps the most comprehensively documented tsunami catastrophe in history, having struck a technologically advanced nation whose state, news media, security, and private cameras were rolling throughout the event. The tsunamis decimated many of Japan’s warning systems and defenses and overran entire modern cities as the world watched in real time. Making the situation even more desperate was the tsunamis’ impact on several nuclear power plants, where the waves overtopped protective walls, flooded support facilities, and disrupted or disabled critical…

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