The Nov. 20 Alice Gordenker column, “So, what the heck is that?” — about emergency announcements — reminded me of the strenuous efforts that a Tokyo Fire Department crew made when my mother died about four years ago, as well as the painstaking job of the TFD and some troubles it faces in doing its duties.

When I found my mother dead in her house — her heart had stopped — I called TFD. The operator told me how to do a cardiac massage. Soon the ambulance crew arrived and began a professional cardiac massage, even though it was clear that she had already died. Apparently Japanese law obliges the ambulance crew to treat any person as if he or she is still alive until a doctor ascertains otherwise. Five crew members were in charge of the cardiac massage, as the task must be conducted continuously.

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