The Tokyo Fire Department is equipping its Airbus Helicopters EC225s to fight high-rise fires. Photo courtesy of Mamo
The Tokyo Fire Department this week introduced a new helicopter unit to help fight high-rise building fires during annual fire-awareness ceremonies.
The Air Fire Rescue Task Forces’ development follows a near doubling of high-rise fires in Tokyo and rapid growth in the number of buildings higher than 11 floors.
The task forces, also known as Air Hyper Rescue, use Airbus Helicopters EC225s from the department aviation unit. Those aircraft are equipped with Simplex Aerospace’s Model 516 High Rise Firefighting System. Simplex received FAA, European and Japanese aviation certification of that model, nicknamed the SkyCannon, in November. Japan Aerospace delivered the system, which is designed to discharge water and foam more than 125 ft from the helicopter through a 24-ft boom that can be rotated to the left or right of the centerline.
The aircraft also will be equipped to carry a 10-person rescue gondola.
The aviation unit’s EC225s, more than 150 fire vehicles and 2,800-plus firefighters participated in the annual Dezome-shiki ceremonies on Tokyo’s Koto waterfront, according to Tokyo media reports. The ceremonies, whose origins are more than 300 years old, remind Japanese citizens of the hazards of fire and prayer for a safe and fire-free New Year.