Earthquake prone Japan is considering installing emergency toilets and drinking water in the country’s elevators.
The move follows the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake, where a number of people got stranded in elevators that were stuck in-between floors. Dozens of people were left without water or access to toilets, some for over an hour, when the quake happened on Saturday.
The country is expecting a mega earthquake in the coming decades and predicts that 10’s of thousands of its ageing population could be stuck high and dry when the big one occurs.
Outlook India reports:
The move comes after dozens of people were left high and dry, some for over an hour, following a 7.8 magnitude quake on Saturday that stopped lifts.
Most of the elevators automatically halted at the nearest floor and opened their doors, but 14 were stranded between storeys.
A meeting between officials from the infrastructure ministry and elevator industry bodies agreed to look into providing toilets for use in an emergency, an official from the Association of Elevator Makers told AFP.
These might include collapsable cardboard structures with a waterproof bag or absorbant material inside.
Some recently-installed lifts have small seating areas for Japan’s growing ranks of elderly people, and installing facilities underneath these seats is one possibility.
Japan has around 620,000 elevators in public or commercial buildings nationwide, about 20 percent of which are in Tokyo.
It also sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and is regularly hit by powerful earthquakes.
The government estimates that the next “Big One” — a huge quake seismologists say is almost certain to hit the capital over the coming decades — may leave up to 17,000 people stranded in elevators.
Saturday’s quake was centred on a remote spot in the Pacific Ocean around 900 kilometres south of Tokyo, but was felt throughout the country.
Twelve people were injured, including a 56-year-old man who broke his ribs, but no one was killed, according to the Tokyo Fire Department and local media.
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