A Life with Yamaha

Faster and More Accurate Intel to Support Safer Rescue Activities and More Lives to Save

Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital (Miyagi Prefecture)

Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital is a core medical institution, which provides advanced medical treatment, in Ishinomaki City in northeastern Miyagi Prefecture, a commercial fishing center in the Tohoku Region. Taking lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Ishinomaki Hospital strives to pass down their knowhow in disaster medical care to the next generation. The hospital also promotes improvement in the quality of community healthcare.

Lessons Learned from Great East Japan Earthquake

When a large-scale disaster occurs, medical and rescue personnel come from across the country to afflicted areas to provide support at core hospitals. An accurate assessment of disaster stricken areas is vital to resource allocation. Without it, we wouldn't be able to determine how much of a resource is needed at a given location or be able to tell local and central governments what type of support is needed.

During the Great East Japan Earthquake, we were faced with a lack of timely information. This experience made us painfully aware of the need to proactively gather information, rather than just wait for patients to be transported to the hospital. The awareness led Ishinomaki Hospital to form the "Motorcycle Rescue Team" in March 2016 in order to save more lives in the event of disaster.

Great Expectations for the Mobility of Motorcycles

Motorcycles can reach areas where cars can't under rough post-disaster road conditions. We thought the motorcycle would be very useful in gathering on-site information.

In the model selection process, the top priority was the motorcycle's ability to perform in rough road conditions, and we chose from a range of off-road models. Other selection criteria included light weight, ease of handling, and a design which allows even infrequent motorcycle users to maintain an upright position. SEROW is a long-selling model of over 30 years; but the deciding factor was that SEROW had already been used by fire and police departments.

Usability Proven in Rescue Activities

A large earthquake struck the southern prefecture of Kumamoto last April, and Ishinomaki Hospital immediately headed to the disaster-stricken area with RESCUE SEROW. This was an opportunity for us to repay all of the help we received after the earthquake in 2011 and to share our lessons learned during the disaster. During the time we worked with local people in Kumamoto, I felt that RESCUE SEROW was utilized to its maximum, thanks to its ease of riding.

Today, RESCUE SEROW is used in marathons and other local events in addition to usual medical operations. We want to continue demonstrating the benefits of RESCUE SEROW and to help increase the number of hospitals deploying motorcycles in disaster medicine.


A long-selling model released in 1985. The model's lower-than-standard seat height allows any rider to maintain the bike in an upright position at all times. The model gained popularity thanks to the ease of keeping the bike upright, combined with its off-road performance and ease of handling. By adding special accessories, SEROW250 can be transformed into RESCUE SEROW, a model specialized for use in disaster rescue missions. RESCUE SEROW is equipped with additional storage, features for increased riding comfort on rough road, and a backup power source.
  • During a rescue activity following the Kumamoto Earthquake (photo by Japanese Red Cross)
  • Mr. Kuniharu Takahashi is the Leader of the Motorcycle Rescue Team. He is also Deputy Chief of Disaster Medicine Training Center and Disaster Rescue Manager at Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital
  • Staff of Ishinomaki Hospital

"How can Yamaha help at a time of disaster?": The answer to this question led to a birth of RESCUE SEROW.

Ms. Mayumi Ichikawa, Yamaha Motor Engineering [YEC]

The mobility of motorcycles during disasters has been increasingly recognized in recent years, and this awareness is spreading outside fire and police departments. The Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital is one of many non-governmental organizations which are using motorcycles for rescue and intelligence gathering activities. "What is asked of motorcycles in a harsh post-disaster environment?" YEC continues, and will continue, to ask this question to our customers and to ourselves in order to serve communities better.