Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kudos To American School In Japan For Exemplary Disaster Prepareness

There was a notable small emergency amid the large one that occurred after the earthquake hit Tokyo yesterday. Because the quake hit during school transportation hours, the embassy dependents and other students at The American School In Japan (ASIJ) were separated from their parents for several hours while the school's drivers and bus monitors worked their way through the disaster zone until they could bring the children safety home.

How's that for a nerve-racking complication to an already crisis-filled day? Say you're a consular officer or other member of the U.S. Mission in Tokyo, and you're trying to get emergency operations up and running to assist your fellow citizens and facilitate USG relief efforts, and all the while you're missing a family member or two.

It must have been a huge relief to parents to know that the ASIJ planned and prepared for exactly that contingency.

The ASIJ sent the following thank you note to it's bus monitors this morning via its website:

Dear Bus Monitors,

Emails are streaming in from parents here in Tokyo, parents on trips outside of Japan, alumuni parents and students, and former bus monitors appreciating your work and all that you did to get everyone home safely last night and early this morning. All were rivetted to MOL [Mustangs On Line] watching your progress and supporting you from afar.

At ASIJ, Dr.Thornton, Mr. Mita, and myself were monitoring your progress by the GPS system, communicating by radio if needed, emailing monitors and parents for communication, locating riders on certain buses, etc. About every half hour, Mr. Witt would post your progress on MOL.

Parents were much relieved to know that you were taking such good care of your bus riders - stopping when needed, pooling money, sharing food, and overall general support on what turned out to be such a long bus ride.

The entire ASIJ community thanks you and the bus drivers for a job exceedingly well done. You not only rose to the occasion, but went above and beyond the call of duty. Not for a second did I have any doubts on that. You are simply awesome!

Best Regards,

From that website you can even follow the periodic updates that the school sent to parents as events unfolded, starting at 3:17 PM Friday and ending with a final report at 1:30 AM the following day.

Kudos are also due to the Office of Overseas Schools, which provides critical assistance to schools with dependents of U.S. citizens and government employees, most definitely including assistance with emergency planning and security measures.


Anonymous said...

That is amazing TSB! The whole response from the Japanese people
is unbelievably calm and cooperative.

It sounds like there is great difficulty getting food even in Tokyo? Great Post! GWB

Jill said...

I have tears after reading this. You don't often see such wonderful letters of gratitude ... it's nice to know that their efforts did not go unnoticed!

Anonymous said...

TSB: He's not dithering! He's partying! I hope Stephen Colbert
will be there to apply the humor!
Sat Mar 12, 5:09 am ET
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will speak at the 126th annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington on Saturday evening.

TSB said...


I agree, that really is a wonderful note. The parents must be hugely grateful to the school's administrators for handling the situation so well.

I'm going to send a note of my own to the Overseas Schools people to point out how well the ASIJ prepared for this disaster.

Nomads By Nature said...

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