Today I went to the 2010 「東京消防出初式」 (“Tokyo Fire Departements New Year Drill“).
This is an event that takes place at the 「東京ビッグ・サイト」 (“Tokyo Big Sight“) near お台場 (Odaiba, Tokyo) on January 6 every year.
I mentioned this event in my “Festivals In Tokyo” page.
At this event, a number of firefighters from fire stations all over the Tokyo area come for a day of fire drills. It’s also a day to teach the public about fire and earthquake safety and to let people look and the fire trucks and fire-fighting equipment.
There are also hands-on things to try…such as practice fire extinguishers, trying on a firefighter’s uniform, and an earthquake simulator.
But the highlight of the event is definitely outside the venue.
First, the Tokyo Fire Department band plays and an official opening ceremony commences.
Then, there’s a parade of firefighters wearing various Japanese firefighter uniforms, rescue dogs, and all of the various fire trucks, fire cars, motorcycles, super-pump trucks, firefighting cranes, 救急車 (ambulances), super-ambulances…and in the water, the fire department boats, and in the sky, the fire department helicopters!
And then, some firefighters, dressed in traditional Japanese fire-fighters garb perform amazing aerobatics on traditional Japanese bamboo ladder. Long ago in Japan firemen had to be able to climb these ladders and hang on with their legs while they fought fires.
Japanese firemen still practice this skill for strength and dexterity.
And after that, another amazing show began.
Two buildings on either end of the court were set ablaze, “civilians” were in one of the buildings and needed rescue, an “earthquake” toppled telephone poles and cars, and other “civilians” were in need of rescue at sea!
Firetrucks, cars, motorcycles, cranes, ambulances, firefighters, rescue dogs all rushed to the scene with sirens wailing!
Rescue workers rescued the civilians from the burning building, rescue helicopters pulled people from the water, rescue dogs found “people” in the earthquake rubble!
Meanwhile, cranes lifted the telephone poles and the toppled truck!
And at the same time, hosemen fought the blaze in the burning buildings!
It was quite a show! So much action…I was swept up watching it and forgot to take many pictures!
In the closing ceremony, the fire boat and fire trucks sprayed water into the air and the ladder trucks all lifted a fireman each as high as their ladders went straight up…and then the firemen dropped streamers of flags down.
It was alot of fun to watch this event.
If you’re in Tokyo on January 6 in the future and you have a chance, I recommend checking out the 「東京消防出初式」 (“Tokyo Fire Departements New Year Drill“).
There were a number of news outlets there.
Here’s ANN News report on this event today:
And click here for information about the 2010 「東京消防出初式」 (“Tokyo Fire Departements New Year Drill“) from the 「東京ビッグ・サイト」 (“Tokyo Big Sight“) website (in Japanese only).