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The Tokyo Fire Department on Saturday held a new year event featuring traditional ladder stunts, simultaneous water shooting, firefighting drills and parades.

About 2,800 people participated in the dezomeshiki (literally “start working”) event at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward, including firemen and registered volunteers. It featured about 150 fire engines, helicopters and fireboats.

Spectators were particularly impressed by the ladder stunts performed by members of the Edo Firemanship Preservation Association, as well as water jets shot by fireboats in five different colors in tribute to the upcoming Olympic Games, which Tokyo will host in 2020.

Dezomeshiki is designed to raise morale among firefighters and underscore the importance of disaster preparedness to the public.

This year, the department demonstrated its response to nuclear, biological and chemical emergencies and conducted firefighting and rescue drills simulating a blaze in an area packed with wooden houses. A rescue team from Vietnam also took part, joining an exercise simulating rescues from a collapsed building.

Chief Kenichi Murakami said the department is determined to fully establish a disaster response system ahead of the Tokyo Games.

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