Close Up with the “Parking Lot Patrol Unit” that Stops Fatal Accidents! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Close Up with the “Parking Lot Patrol Unit” that Stops Fatal Accidents!

Close contact! Prevent repeated "leaving children in cars" at pachinko parlors "Operating two hours before opening" "Searching for guardians"

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‘Our field staff averages 30,000 steps a day. But we can’t say, ‘I’m tired. People’s lives are at stake.

Masaaki Onoe, who oversees parking lot patrols at SAP Soka, a large amusement facility in Saitama Prefecture, explains. SAP Soka is a general amusement plaza with a bowling alley, restaurants, pachinko and slot machines, and other facilities.

A patrol unit checks the inside of a car by flashlight. In some malicious cases, children are wrapped in blankets in the back seat and hidden.

Every summer, we hear sad news about children dying of heat stroke or other causes after being left unattended in cars at various locations for the convenience of their parents. Although pachinko parlors prohibit the entry of vehicles carrying children, the practice of “children left unattended in cars” has not disappeared. However, thanks to the prevention activities initiated by the All-Japan Federation of Amusement Industry Cooperative Associations in 2005, the number of cases has been reduced to one-third of the previous high rate over the past five years. We caught up closely with the “Parking Lot Patrol Unit” of SAP Soka.

The patrol starts at 8:00 a.m., two hours before the opening time of 10:00 a.m., with flashlights. They check to see if there are any children in the cars, and if they find any, they find their guardians, explain to them the danger of leaving their children unattended in the cars, and urge them to leave. If the condition of the child is found to be dangerous, the fire department and police are also notified. If the situation is critical, the store has obtained permission from the fire department to break a window to rescue the child at its discretion.

On weekends, the parking lot, which can hold up to 900 cars, fills up. “On weekends, the parking lot, which can hold up to 900 cars, fills up. It takes two people an hour to visit all the parking lots, and we have to go around three or four times. Even I, as a supervisor, have to walk 15,000 steps a day, so I have to walk twice that number to make sure everything is in order,” said Ogami.

A daytime staff member, who works until 4:00 p.m. and is replaced by a security company staff member, discovered the scene of a previous “child left in a car” incident at “SAP Soka.

A five- to six-year-old child was inside the car, but no matter how much we tapped on the window, he wouldn’t open it. We immediately took down the make and model of the car and the license plate number, and several of us went around the store one seat at a time to find the guardian. They don’t notice the in-parlor announcements when they are engrossed in playing pachinko or other games.

A few years ago, we stopped a woman who tried to jump from the fifth floor of our parking lot, so even though we do the same thing over and over every day, there is always a sense of tension that we are “taking care of lives.

Today, even before the store opens, he continues to make the rounds of the parking lot to prevent accidents from occurring.

Cut not published in this magazine Close-up look at the “Parking Lot Patrol Unit” that prevents fatal accidents!

From the September 23, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text by Kumiko Kato Kumiko Kato PHOTO Hiroto Kato

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