Commencement of Full-function Provision of the “Evacuation Action Support” (避難行動支援) Feature in Fukuoka City’s Official LINE Account. Use Becomes Possible During Actual Disasters.

Support from preparation for disasters up to recovery is realized seamlessly in an official line account for the first time in Japan*1

LINE Corporation (“LINE”; Location: Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Takeshi Idezawa) and its Fukuoka-based subsidiary LINE Fukuoka Corporation (“LINE Fukuoka”; Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Noritaka Ochiai) are pleased to announce that the full-function provision of “Evacuation Action Support” (避難行動支援) available in Fukuoka City’s Official LINE account (LINE ID: @fukuokacity), has begun from November 14th (Wednesday) and is now also available for use during actual disasters. From today until the completion of the verification testing on March 31, 2020, the usefulness of the feature will be verified through its operation during normal times and during disasters.

Test Version (Verification Testing Phase 1)Full-function Provision (Verification Testing Phase 2)
September 4 – November 13, 2019November 14, 2019 – March 31, 2020
(Completion date subject to change)
• Release of Normal Mode
• Release and operability verification of Disaster Mode test version for trial use by city residents.
• Continue to provide Normal Mode
• Start operation of Disaster Mode during disasters
* Automatic switching from “Normal Mode” to “Disaster Mode” when an actual disaster occurs

■ The LINE that is used in daily life can also be used during disasters and reduces the burden on users and local government
The Evacuation Action Support feature includes two modes: “Normal Mode,” which helps users prepare for disasters, and “Disaster Mode,” which supports evacuation action during disasters. This Evacuation Action Support feature is the first system in Japan in an official LINE account that can provide seamless support from preparations during normal times to evacuation action support during disasters and the reporting of problems in the town during recovery support (as of November 14, 2019).
In a single official LINE account, it is possible to achieve everything from the receipt of disaster prevention information during normal times, to “Receiving guidance on evacuation action appropriate for the disaster type,” “Being able to check the evacuation shelters where evacuation is currently possible” and “Sharing information on evacuation movement with family, etc.” during disasters, and “Reporting problems in the town (such as road cave-ins)” during recovery support.(Figure1)
This means that it is not necessary for citizens to download a new app specifically for disaster prevention, and it is also not necessary for the local government to develop an app specifically for disaster prevention, so this reduces the burden on both parties.

【Figure1】

■ The feature was improved based on the comments from users of the test version
From September 4th this year, Phase 1 of verification testing on the “Evacuation Action Support” feature was begun as a test version. The “Normal Mode” and a test version of the “Disaster Mode” were released and comments were gathered from users through a questionnaire and trial sessions. Based on that testing, improvements were made to mainly the following three functions before the full-function provision starting today.

1) Evacuation shelter information (Figure2)
User comments:
“Please sort the evacuation sites shown so that they are listed in order from the one nearest to the present location.”
“It doesn’t seem that the nearest park is displayed as an evacuation site for earthquakes.”

Improvements made:
Up until now, only the designated evacuation shelters (schools, gymnasiums, community centers, etc.) were displayed. From Phase 2, the designated emergency evacuation sites (school grounds, parks, etc.) have been added. In addition, the items are listed in the ascending order of distance from the position information specified by the user.

2) Types of disaster the evacuation site can be used for (Figure2)
User comments:
“The icons in the evacuation site messages were difficult to understand”
“I want to know whether an evacuation shelter can be used during flooding, etc.”

Improvements made:
Information was added on the types of disasters supported and an explanation was added for the icons for the disasters supported and the facilities information.

【Figure2】

3) During message transmission(Figure3)
User comment:
“Information may be overlooked if multiple messages are sent at the same time”

Improvement made:
A change was made so that the next message is sent after an operation by the user.

In addition to providing support from normal times to times of disaster through the “Disaster Prevention Information Transmission” function and this “Evacuation Action Support” feature, the “Infrastructure Report” function also provides recovery support after a disaster. This embodies the concept of “Life on LINE” as life infrastructure that provides support during normal times, during disasters and during recovery support, in a way that is tightly knit into the fabric of users’ daily lives.

【Figure3】

===APPENDIX===

Overview of the “Evacuation Action Support” Verification Testing
Please see our press release (https://linefukuoka.co.jp/en/pr/news/2019/090411) for details.

■ What the Disaster Prevention-Related Features (Including the Evacuation Action Support Feature) on Fukuoka City’s Official LINE Account Can Do
・Functionality that was added as the “Evacuation Action Support” feature in the verification testing Phase 1 (starting September 4, 2019) is indicated with a star (★)
・Items indicated with a double circle (◎) were in the test version during the verification testing Phase 1 and actual operation was started from Phase 2 (starting November 14, 2019)
・New items started from Phase 2 are indicated with a square (■)
・ Features that are not marked already existed before the verification testing

① Promote disaster preparation by letting users:
• Check nearby evacuation shelters and hazard maps (★)
• Add the disaster items that the evacuation shelter provides support for with an icon (Rain, tsunami, earthquake, etc.) (■)
• The integration of a demonstration function so that users can also check their evacuation actions for earthquakes or wind and flood damage in the Normal Mode (■)
• Receive current alerts and advisories
• Collect information from disaster prevention-related links
• Prevent damage before it happens by reporting infrastructure that needs repairing to the city

② Offer helpful information about evacuation actions during disasters by letting users:
• Receive emergency information such as evacuation recommendations
• Automatically switch to “Disaster Mode” during a disaster (■)
• Receive information on evacuation action appropriate for the disaster (■)
• Search for evacuation actions that should be taken depending on their current location (home, work , etc.) (◎)
• Learn about the nearest evacuation shelters that are already set up (◎)
• Let family and friends know that they have started to evacuate (◎)
• Check current water/gas supply and public transportation conditions (◎)

③ Facilitate quick post-disaster recovery by letting users:
• Notify the city of damage done to infrastructure (like roads, river dams, or parks) for quick recovery

■ About Evacuation Shelter Information
The Evacuation Action Support feature uses evacuation shelter information obtained from “Tsunagaru+” (ツナガル+), a disaster management app developed by Fukuoka City and FUJITSU KYUSHU SYSTEMS LIMITED (Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City; Company President: Yuichiro Ishii).
* Please see this article on Fukuoka City’s official homepage for details.
http://www.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/shimin/bousai/bousai/tsunagaru_plus.html

■ Examples of the LINE Group’s Disaster Prevention-Related Undertakings
LINE and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Start Resident Evacuation/Flood Prevention Activity Support Projects Utilizing SNS/AI Technology
https://linecorp.com/ja/pr/news/ja/2019/2894
“LINE researched the damage situation of season’s 19th typhoon with AI Disaster Prevention Council
https://linecorp.com/ja/pr/news/ja/2019/2946