CBBS Today

journal of the california blood bank society


March 2012 CoverBackground: Sendai Airport (Miyagi Prefecture, Japan) was flooded by the tsunami of March 11, 2011. Seawater reached the second level of the terminal, stranding passengers and disabling critical equipment. Operations at Odata-Noshiro Airport (Akita Prefecture) and Sado Airport (Niigata Prefecture), controlled from Sendai, were suspended. Inland from the tsunami-affected areas, rail and road transportation was disrupted by the record-setting magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

Inset: Fukushima Medical University became a receiving center for patients throughout the Tohoku region of Japan. The students’ soccer field became a heliport and staging area for ground-based ambulances. Evacuation of patients proceeded in both directions: inbound for emergency care, and outbound for chronic care. Although Fukushima Medical University never lost electricity or Internet service, the municipal water supply was interrupted for the first week, and extreme conservation measures were put in place.

Question: If a disaster of this magnitude happened in California, would we be ready?