At the time earthquake hit

Story: Shima Fukushikai Foundation, Sakura Gakuen Vocational Support Center for the Disabled
Director (at the time of the disaster in 2011): Mr. Atsushi Sano

When the earthquake hit, I was at Moshiono Sato, a Shiogama city’s co-living facility for the disabled, which was located next door to Sakura Gakuen. A user there had an epileptic seizure, and I was called and just attending the person. I was in charge of both facilities at the time.

We brought the person to a room with tatami floor mat, laid him down and I was nursing. I couldn’t see how others were doing because the room was a bit separated from other space by a corridor. I imagine people were screaming but the staff was composed and giving directions like “everyone get under the tables!”

As I heard those voices, and as I attended the person laid down with epilepsy, a board for table tennis just next to the person suddenly started to fell over him. I placed one of my hands on the person while put the other to hold the board. I recall shouting and instructing people to go under the tables. Once the tremor stopped, I rushed to Sakura Gakuen to see all the trainees there were ok.

At Sakura Gakuen, everyone including the ones who were working at the workshop were instructed to cover themselves under the tables. I was told that initial sway shook tables so hard that some heavy items fell flying and some people were almost hit by them. I was glad nobody was injured.