Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This is a day in the life of a Japanese firefighter This is Soushi a 22 year old firefighter in Tokyo and he's just waking up to start his day This may look like a regular Japanese apartment but it's known as 'Tanshin Taikishukusa' in Japanese which directly translated means "A single waiting dormitory" as it's provided by the fire department In an emergency situation, such as a large natural disaster, it makes it easy for the firefighters living here to quickly gather and help with any efforts Do all firefighters live in this type of facility? Soushi usually eats breakfast at home making sure he fuels up before his shift I guess that chocolate spread on his toast gets him up for the day ahead Like most Japanese salarymen he also wears a suit to work, even though his office commute is only a 10 minute walk away Soushi is in his fourth year as a shoboshi, in English a firefighter After high school in Hiroshima he studied for the firefighter exam for one year while working at a yakitori restaurant After passing, he relocated to Tokyo I am back with another "Day in the Life" This one is going to be special because we're doing a full 24 hours Soushi should be coming around the corner right now let's see how he's doing this morning Good morning. Did you sleep well last night? And this is Soushi's office, the Joto Fire Station, Tokyo Sunamachi branch In Tokyo there are a total of 303 fire stations coving the entire area with about 18,600 firefighters at the ready Although the fire station has an elevator it's fairly standard for Japanese firefighters to use the stairs throughout the day Soushi, what's that? In Japan, firefighters have 10 different ranks Badges have different numbers of stars & stripes All firefighters like Soushi start at the 1st rank, one star and one stripe To earn a promotion to the next rank, the department will review Soushi's performance and test results after around four years So he's almost there! And to become a firefighter in Tokyo applicants must pass an exhaustive fire department recruitment examination that's held only once a year Which includes both a written and physical exam Each year there are only a limited number of positions so becoming a Japanese firefighter is highly competitive Last year only 1 out of 14 applicants, about seven percent, were able to pass the full exam Soushi, what are you doing now? Apparently every day headquarters sends documents to all the firefighters, so one of his first tasks in the morning is to read through all of the material What are you doing now? In Japan, the firefighters work a 24-hour shift and it officially commences at a large meeting called 'daikotai' The previous day's shift lines up on one side while the incoming shift lines up on another During the meeting, the previous team will inform the incoming shift all of the details for any incidents during their shift Such as locations, how many times they were sent out, and any other important matters This is one of the most critical points of the day as all of the information must be transferred accurately In case there's an event or disaster the firefighters must always act quickly and safely based on the information they have Right now they're doing all of their morning checks They have to do this to make sure all the equipment is working as well as making sure all of the vehicles are working properly Oh! Soushi's putting on his bokai AKA bunker gear As part of his own morning inspection, Soushi must fully try on his gear to ensure that every piece is working properly Literally, his life depends on it After verifying his equipment, the team must work together to inspect the fire truck Everything is checked, from the lights all the way down to each door compartment opening smoothly Because in an emergency situation, every second counts Next the team inspects their firefighting equipment to ensure that it's also in working order The check for each individual piece of equipment is methodical and the entire process must be committed to the firefighter's memory It looks like they're finishing up right now That was a pretty comprehensive check Let's see what's next And now it looks like they're doing their morning stretches They're all doing it all in one motion, which is pretty cool Oh look, it's Soushi leading the group After stretches they quickly gear back up This time inspecting each other's gear After this, the team continues on with their daily firefighting training What are you doing right now? Rolling removes all the air bubbles and folding it as such is just the most efficient way to start before it gets extended during the live drill Apparently the Kanji character on the hose identifies the fire station Useful in real life fire situations as there could be more than 10 fire trucks involved That's a lot of hose! Oh it looks like they're just about to start Japanese firefighters are trying to get ready in under 60 seconds Full gear plus verifying the incident destination and route on a map That's so fast! In today's drill, Soushi and his team are simulating the rescue of a person on the second floor of a burning building Every day the firefighters must drill different sitations in order to be prepared for whatever future incident or disaster may happen In Soushi's first call as a firefighter he had to help rescue a person who fell down from a high location But being his first time his hands were shaking so badly he couldn't perform Luckily with the support and encouragement from his team, in addition to hard work on these type of training drills, he was able to overcome the nervousness he had on his first outing He now operates with confidence In an actual fire, the entire room is usually engulfed with black smoke and likely visibility close to zero So firefighters are trained to kick their legs out to check their surrounding Oh, they found him! Once the person is evacuated from inside the team must get the person down to the ground level If they are unable to make it down on their own the team is trained to secure them via ropes and lower them down safely Wow that was intense I could only imagine what a real fire would be like That looks heavy How much does all of your gear weigh? Although Soushi just completed an exhausting fire drill he and his team must be diligent and ready their gear right after the training Again, in case they're called out to a real fire In Japan, firefighters not only fight fires and go out on emergency calls, but they also assist local residents with permits and safety fire related matters This resident is here to register for a fire safety seminar Soushi helps the resident complete the forms but he's still relatively new and learning the ropes So when he's unsure about something he checks with his superiors on proper procedures Do firefighters have a specific job in the office? It looks like Soushi's going to be tied up for a bit So while he's doing that let's go explore this place Just behind me, it looks like their training room They have some weights, they have a bench, they have a pull-up bar, a dip bar, and it looks like they have a squatting rack as well Hmm the fire truck looks a little bit lonely I've always been curious to see what's behind those compartment doors All right, first let's see what's in this one Oh wow, can you see that? That's the searchlight system Soushi was inspecting earlier, used in smoky blacked out conditions Not so interesting here. Nice more hose Plus ropes and an AED A fire hydrant pipe attachment used when the fire truck can't enter a place Extra boots Ok, that's this side Let's see the other side Cool, a foam sprayer when water isn't enough or I guess if they're throwing a party Some extra tanks Oh, what are those orange plates? Nice, I see what they did here Damn, seems pretty organized to me Oh look behind me it says 'emergency equipment storage' Let's check what's inside Wow I didn't expect them to have all this cool stuff in here Looks like they have spare oxygen tanks, a whole bunch of ropes, a stretcher Oh wow even a hydraulic powered cutter to cut through metal Looks like there's a real fire going on right now So we had to stop All right, so they just got back Apparently there was no actual fire Let's see what happened Soushi, what happened? Interestingly the number one cause of fires in Japan is smoking and the second, arson So what now? Yay, finally lunch time! It looks like he's having yourinji fried chicken, fried rice, chicken soup, and yogurt Soushi, do you always buy lunch at the konbini? He used to be able to have lunch with his colleagues, but because of COVID, everyone needs to sit apart from each other during meals After lunch, he has a meeting to go over the afternoon tasks and discuss other important matters Oh, that's the head of the fire station It's typical in a traditional Japanese office for the most senior person to sit at the head of the office like this With their desk slightly separated from the main island of desks Nice, time to take a ride Soushi is an official driver for one of the two types of fire trucks at the station, the Sosuisha fire truck There are several types in Japan even larger, but because many roads in Tokyo are narrow these trucks are sized to maneuver safely and quickly through Tokyo streets The Sosuisha truck usually arrives second on the scene parking next to the fire hydrant and pumping water to the Sankosa truck arriving first and parked closest to the fire What are you doing right now? In Japanese it's called 'suiri chosa' The firefighters inspect fire hydrants in the area 2-3 times a month to ensure it's working properly Also, the manhole covers sometimes get stuck due to constant car and people traffic So the inspection confirms that it's easily accessible during an emergency Is this one working okay? Oh they're back now Soushi, what are you doing now?