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The University of Tokyo's Disaster Preparedness Training Center
In order to protect as many lives as possible from disasters and to ensure the continued functioning of society
By providing systematic and practical training on disaster preparedness
We nurture human resources who can contribute to a sustainable society by making changes in the efforts and awareness of each individual who supports society.
International Research Center for Urban Safety Engineering Disaster Prevention Process Engineering
Associate Professor, Doctor (Engineering) Dr. Munetsumi Numata
The University of Tokyo Disaster Preparedness Training Center
Disaster Management Training Center,The University of Tokyo
- We will promote research on disaster response, training, and education so that people can acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and know-how required in times of disaster through practical training, and provide the results of this research to society as a new educational service.
Could you tell us about the specifics of Professor Numata's laboratory?
We study disaster preparedness mainly from a wide range of perspectives, from engineering to social science, and develop training programs and provide training based on the results of our research. This means that local governments, private companies, and local residents in general can learn about disaster management. My background is in civil engineering, so I am involved in a wide range of research related to disaster preparedness, including research on civil engineering structures such as infrastructure and lifelines, as well as research on evacuation centers, medical care, welfare, and information systems.
In this context, we have defined 47 different frameworks for disaster management operations in this way.
When you are a company, you create a business flow, right? This is like a disaster countermeasure version of that. For each of the 47 major categories, detailed tasks are described in this way.
The 47 categories refer to such things as evacuation center management, waste disposal, road restoration, and building surveys. For each of these 47 major categories of work, for example, the evacuation shelter management category is subdivided into about 10 tasks. The 47 categories form the basis of the flowchart, and while pursuing the ideal form of the flowchart, we are also conducting research on various themes, such as improving the efficiency of each subdivision.
What we are doing now, at the Disaster Preparedness Training Center, is to study the operations of all 47 types, first to get an overall picture, and then to go deeper into each of them individually, more specifically, for example, what are the key points and what is necessary in evacuation center management. Due to the effects of the new coronavirus, it is necessary to organize the work of evacuation center management, and evacuation center management alone is subdivided into about 300 tasks.
We have developed a system called BOSS (Disaster Response Process Management System), which creates flowcharts to facilitate the smooth success of a wide range of responses. We will have people actually use BOSS, and when a disaster occurs, we will be able to grasp the overall picture and issue specific instructions.
The Disaster Preparedness Training Center is based on the idea that we should teach this base well.
We also operate the Disaster Preparedness Training Center with a variety of companies, each with their own specialties.
What led to the establishment of the Disaster Preparedness Training Center? Can you tell us about the events that led to the use of learningBOX?
Originally, I studied all kinds of disaster countermeasures in my laboratory.
For example, in everyday work, if you do the same job over and over again to some extent, you will learn the daily tasks. However, in the case of a disaster, even if the same disaster occurs, the people who respond to the disaster change, and the government also changes its staff rapidly, so most of the people who respond to the disaster are experiencing it for the first time. As a result, it is difficult to see the big picture and know what to do, which is why disaster response is not always successful.
So, first of all, let's make a flow that gives a complete picture! We thought, "Let's make a flow so that we can see the whole picture," and now we are systemizing it as BOSS and introducing it to various local governments, but we felt that if that was all we did, we would not be able to respond when a disaster really happened. Training and education must be well developed. So, I wondered what training and education was like in Japan today. There are training programs offered by the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, etc., but they are all packed with how-to information in a short period of time. But that's not enough time to study, and there's no time to think deeply. The e-learning system in the U.S. is also very comprehensive! Especially the videos. There's a lot of training that takes place over the span of a month or two. So we were thinking about whether we could create a new educational system that would allow working adults to think properly and continue to learn... and that's when we started the Disaster Preparedness Training Center. That's why we started this training center. There was some talk about expanding the education to national training programs, but it would be very difficult and require specialists. I thought that would be a bit of a hurdle, so I decided to make it a university program! That's why we decided to make it at the university. It's not that the government doesn't do anything at all, but there are people who are not only government employees, but also private companies, NPOs and other volunteer groups, etc. However, we couldn't expand the scope of the program any further, so it was a bit difficult from the government's standpoint. So we decided to set up the Disaster Preparedness Training Center in order to supplement the national government's position, and also because there was no system in place to draw up an overall picture and teach the whole picture to a large number of people, including government officials, businesses, local residents, NPOs and volunteer groups. So we decided to set up a disaster preparedness training center to educate people.
In this context, people can only move when they have knowledge as input through experience. You can't move if you don't have any knowledge. About two years ago, we held several training sessions at a closed school in Minami-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, where we piled up rubble, processed it, and operated an actual evacuation center in the gymnasium. Using the body to actually experience things can be done as long as there are instructions, but what is more important is the ability to input basic knowledge and think. On the other hand, if you have that in place, you can be very effective in terms of actually doing and using what you've thought about, just by including a little experience as an added bonus. For example, if you don't have any knowledge about how to use the equipment, try it first! If that's the case, you learn how to use the equipment, but it's hard to think about why you're using it, how to make it better, and other things that will lead to the next step. Therefore, it is effective to have the basic knowledge as input and then let the students experience it. However, since we need to learn all 47 types of inputs, it's not enough to have a one- or two-day training session, listen to the lecturer, and be done with it. When I thought about how to create a system that would teach everything from the basics to the applications in stages, and how to teach them in order, I thought, "Let's use e-learning! I thought, "Let's use e-learning. By doing so, you can study anytime, anywhere, and it's inefficient to go all the way to Tokyo from all over Japan, listen to a classroom lecture, and then go home... including the travel time. That's why we came up with learningBOX, to see if we could make better use of e-learning.
Thank you very much! You mentioned that you researched overseas training programs. What kind of content is available in overseas disaster preparedness training programs?
In the United States, there is an agency called FEMA, the Emergency Management Agency, and the government responds to various training programs throughout the United States, so they have created a consortium of educational programs that are well thought out. The educational programs have been created with a lot of money and time, and they are very comprehensive. Seven universities and other organizations are members of the consortium, and the national government assigns responsibilities to universities and organizations to ensure that all training programs are disseminated throughout the United States. The University of Hawaii is in charge of earthquakes and tsunamis, Texas is in charge of fire and rescue, and so on. The universities that are assigned these roles provide training to the entire United States on the educational programs they are in charge of. In Asia, there is a government agency called the National Disaster Management Agency in Indonesia, which is building a national disaster management training center, including accommodation facilities. The hardware can probably be developed in Japan, but the key point is that President Joko has set the goal of making Indonesia the world's best disaster prevention training center, and he is working with the vision of enhancing the content of the training center and inviting people from all over the world to come to Indonesia for training. On the other hand On the other hand, in Japan, each organization conducts various training programs on its own, but there is no coordination among organizations and groups as an educational program.
The reason why both the United States and Indonesia have such a training plan is that they have a system of basic kata for disaster response. I believe that disaster response is a form of karate. It is a basic form for dealing with disasters. Because there is a basic kata, even if an unexpected disaster occurs, the basic kata can be updated and applied. If we don't have a basic model, we can't respond to applications... Japan lacks a common model. There are about 170,000 evacuation centers all over Japan, but there is no common information tool among all the evacuation centers. If there is a common system for the whole country, then all local governments will be able to use the same tools to collect information. The main point is that there is no system in place to develop tools for collecting information, to provide training to verify the tools, and to prepare for actual disasters. In Japan, when there is a major disaster, support staff come from all over the country to help. However, everyone prepares different things and thinks differently. In the absence of a common concept of how to respond, support staff with individual experience come to the aid of the disaster victims, and it is often difficult for the recipients of the support staff to come to terms with their wishes. I would like to implement disaster countermeasures more efficiently by incorporating past disaster experience into a 'model' and sharing the incorporated know-how with everyone. In the future, if information sharing tools become an application world, it will be the same if the language is changed. If that happens, we can talk about international standardization.
Thank you very much for the details! You said that you searched for e-learning for off-JT, how did you find learningBOX?
I wonder how it went...? (laughs) There are so many companies that deal with e-learning if you look for them, aren't there? I honestly felt that there were so many different types that I didn't know what to expect. While I was still confused, you came to our laboratory to explain about it. When we discussed what we wanted to achieve using e-learning on the spot, he responded to all of our requests, which was very important. Moreover, they responded immediately, didn't they? We were really grateful. The other big thing is the functionality. I also placed importance on the fact that I could set up settings such as not being able to download teaching materials and videos.
Have you considered other e-learning systems?
You did. I thought that I would like leraningBOX after you came once, but other people concerned said that it would be better to go elsewhere...? But there were some people who said that it would be better. But I didn't think that the functions would make a big difference. I think the most important thing is the human aspect, the flexibility to respond to requests immediately, and the good support! Of course, it's easy to use and the functions are good.
Thank you for your kind words! ...Would it be possible for you to show us how you actually use learningBOX in your environment?
Of course it's good!
Right now, we are using it for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and Tokushima Prefecture's Disaster Management Overview Support Staff (GADM) training.
I felt it while actually creating the contents, but I didn't compare it with others... but it is really easy to use. Let me briefly explain the GADM training environment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
First, log in, click on Learn, and you will see a special folder. Open the folder and you can see the course materials. First of all, we have a page called Guidance, which contains a thank you for attending this lecture and an overview (objectives and what we want you to learn, course flow, etc.).▶learningBOX standard function: using web pages
Next, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire to reconfirm the significance of attending this training.▶learningBOX standard function: use of questionnaire materialsFor example, if the question is "What kind of work do you want to do in disaster management? I want to help people! Then, I ask them to organize that vision again and write 'why did you participate in this course' and then watch the video. After the video, we prepare a report assignment for you to write down what you learned in the video.▶learningBOX standard function: use of report materials The training is 50 minutes in total, and includes a set of reference videos for you to review at your leisure.
In Tokushima Prefecture's GADM training program, you are required to check five videos and answer each questionnaire. For example, in this Q4, you will be asked to fill out your own simulation of the key points of 47 different disaster response operations.
The Disaster Preparedness Training Center is currently preparing content courses in stages: basic, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We have divided the content into files for each teacher in charge (currently about 20), and we are creating a training program that mainly uses video.▶learningBOX EC function use
The advanced program is designed to train people in decision-making positions in companies to be leaders in disaster management. We hope to start the basic course in the summer. We would like to start the basic course first, and then incorporate disaster prevention training as part of the training for young people in companies.
We are planning to sell a set of Basic Disaster Preparedness Training Course + 5 online courses on BCP (Business Continuity Plan)!
What do you expect from learningBOX in the future?
I'm happy enough with the current situation. (Laughs)
I would venture to say that I make a lot of videos, but I upload and sort the files separately by theme. It would be nice if this could be done automatically by entering a word of interest, with a combination of related materials recommended. Now all we need is an English version!▶ The English version is now supported by last month's version upgrade. Please check this page.
How did you like this case study?
I felt that Dr. Numata's research, which started by defining the basic types of disasters in Japan, is indispensable for Japan today, where so many disasters occur that the country is known as a disaster powerhouse.
We are proud that our learningBOX can contribute to disaster preparedness training, even if only a little, and we will put even more effort into its development!
Dr. Numata, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.
If you would like to introduce basic disaster preparedness training for new employees, please contact us. This service is also available for individuals.