Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fire towers • 消防のタワー

The other day as I was driving through Inakadate, I noticed that there are quite a few fire towers spread throughout the village. I have seen such towers before in Japan, but I was impressed by the number of them here and the way they are beautifully maintained. Truly, the fire towers, bells and other such facilities all seem to have no rust and beautiful paint jobs.

In most small towns and villages in Japan, there is both a volunteer firefighting squad and professional firefighters hired by the municipality. Most volunteer squads have a shed which houses their equipment and most often a vehicle or pump. In Inakadate there are six such squads with 19 vehicles spread throughout the 21 neighborhoods.
日本の小さな町や村のほとんどにはボランティアの消防団も市町村レベルで採用されている公務員の消防士もいます。そして各消防団には、自動車やポンプなどの装備を保管できる小屋があります。田舎館には6つの消防団があり、村中の 21個の集落に19 件の小屋が設けられています。

In most cases it is the role of the volunteer squad to keep local materials available and well maintained and to offer assistance to the professionals when needed during a fire. I am sure there is a lot of teamwork between both groups.

A fire tower is one of things you hope you will never need to use, but one you are glad you have when you need it. If the beauty of the fire towers is a reflection of Inakadate's disaster prevention readiness, I can feel comfortable knowing that when the time comes, people here are ready.

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