Tokyo Fire Department

Last updated
Tokyo Fire Department
Formation7 March 1948
TypeFire Department
Legal statusMunicipal Fire Service
Headquarters1-3-5 Ōtemachi
Fire Chief
Toshio Andō
¥245,932,000,000 (2015) [1]

The Tokyo Fire Department (TFD) (Japanese: 東京消防庁, Tokyo Shōbōchō), Founded in 1948, is the fire department of Tokyo Metropolis, Japan. The TFD is the largest urban fire department in the world with a total staff of 18,408.


The TFD is responsible for firefighting, fire prevention, fire investigation, hazardous material handling, disaster response, rescue operations, and emergency medical services across all 23 wards of Tokyo and parts of Western Tokyo. It is headed by a fire chief. The TFD is part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and is distinguished from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, which coordinates other municipal fire departments in Japan.

The TFD is headquartered in Ōtemachi, Chiyoda, Tokyo. [2]


The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Fire Bureau building during the Taisho era. Historically, police were responsible for firefighting in Japan. TMPD Fire Bureau Building.JPG
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Fire Bureau building during the Taishō era. Historically, police were responsible for firefighting in Japan.

Japan's first fire service was founded in 1629 during the Edo period, and was called Hikeshi (Japanese: 火消し, lit. Fire eraser). During the Meiji Period, the Hikeshi was merged into the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department in 1881. During this period, pumps were imported and domestically produced, and modern firefighting strategies were introduced. The fire service would remain part of the police department until police reforms in 1947, when the Tokyo Fire Department was separated from the police as an independent agency. The TFD was officially formed on 7 March 1948.

Fire districts and fire stations

Overall of stations in Tokyo Metropolis Area

Fire districts and fire stations

Mobile units

TFD Nihonbashi Pump.jpg

Pumpers = 489
7 classes

  • Small-sized pumper
  • Normal-sized pumper
  • Tank pumper
    • 2 ton tank
    • 5 ton tank
  • 15 meters ladder and 950 liter tank pumper
  • 13.7 meters tower and 950 liter tank pumper
  • Long-range mass water supply pumper
  • Obstacle removal and pumper
TFD 8Div. Rescue Truck 8-R2.jpg

Rescue Trucks = 40
4 classes

  • Rescue truck (29)
  • Special Rescue Trucks (2)
  • Mountain rescue truck (5)
  • Water rescue truck (4)

Toyota HiMedic Front.jpg

Ambulances = 259
2 classes

  • Ambulance
  • Super ambulance (bus)


TFD 8Div. Chemical Tanker CC.jpg

Special trucks = 86
5 classes

  • Special Incident Truck (18)
  • Earthquake Rescue truck (4)
  • Heavy Vehicles for Rescue (8)
  • Heavy Vehicles for road clearance (6)
  • Foaming truck (48)
  • Heavy Vehicles for aircraft loading (2)

Aerial ladder = 86
3 classes

  • Ladder truck
    • 30 meters ladder truck
    • 40 meters ladder truck
  • 23 meters water tower truck
  • Aerial basket truck
Fireboat Miyakodori 4th 02.jpg

Fire boats = 10


Command units = 93

Tokyo Fire Department"Tubame".JPG

Helicopters = 7

Tokyo Fire Motorcycle (lights).jpg

Motorcycles = 20

(As of April 1, 2019) [3]

Demonstration and preparedness training

(video) A fire hose drill training session.

A few times a year, the department has demonstrations and preparedness training. These are small, whereas others might be large-scale events.

The demonstrations are mostly public awareness events for the people who live in the Tokyo area. This also shows the taxpayers where the funding of the department has been spent, and the department's state of preparedness. This is also used as a recruiting tool for future firefighters. Commonly one sees a small demonstration every so often in district centers, schools, and shopping arcades. The firefighters give rides, tours, or maybe let you touch equipment.

Mass casualties tag Triage tag (Tokyo Fire Department).jpg
Mass casualties tag

The biggest demonstration is Dezomeshiki. It's the New Year Tokyo Fire Department Review; and happens in January every year. They present all the resources and training that the Department currently are using. They perform a fake disaster where the firefighters use their equipment. They also set up a showroom for equipment and a small museum. About 2,800 people participated in Dezomeshiki in 2018. [4]

Every so often a fire district performs a preparedness training. They train with a fake disaster in a real district area. This training is for the firefighters, support staff, and local volunteers. The training means they can become more familiar with an area in the event of a disaster happening.

The preparedness training also uses Mass Casualties Tags. These tags are used in major disasters. These tags give information about the person and sort out many who could be saved with the current status of medical service, a form of triage.

TFD firefighters responding to a fire in Shinjuku Firefighters-in-shinjuku-aug9-2014.jpg
TFD firefighters responding to a fire in Shinjuku
Tokyo Fire Department participating a disaster relief exercise in Taipei, Taiwan 20150428 104Nian Quan Min Fang Wei Dong Yuan (Min An 1Hao )Fu He Shi Zai Hai Fang Jiu Yan Xi 542819595318.jpg
Tokyo Fire Department participating a disaster relief exercise in Taipei, Taiwan


The TFD currently has 12 different types of firefighting and rescue robots. These robots are designed to handle disasters that are too dangerous for personnel during an emergency. Some types of robots can shoot water or foam on to fires. One type can rescue a person and another type are able to move large objects. Currently all robots are controlled by remote operators.

Future firefighting robotics might have simple artificial intelligence to search for life and be able to move on terrain without operator's assistance.

Ranking system and uniforms

Rank insignias are on a small badge, pinned above the right pocket. Rank is denoted by stripes and Hexagram stars. The design of the insignias came from older Japanese-style military insignias. Some rank badges are different colors such as the fire jacket for a station commander.

Fire FighterAssistant Fire SergeantFire sergeant
Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Fire Fighter.svg Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Assistant Fire Sergeant.svg Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Fire Sergeant.svg
Fire LieutenantFire CaptainBattalion Chief
Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Fire Lieutenant.svg Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Fire Captain.svg Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Battalion Chief.svg
Assistant ChiefFirst Assistant ChiefDeputy Chief
Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Assistant Chief.svg Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - First Assistant Chief.svg Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Deputy Chief.svg
Fire Chief
Rank Insignia of Janpan Fire Department - Fire Chief.svg

Tokyo Fire Museum

Tokyo Fire Museum TED-museum.jpg
Tokyo Fire Museum

The Tokyo Fire Museum is at Yotsuya 3–10, Shinjuku-ku. It has a large collection of historic firefighting apparatuses. The museum has firefighting history of the 17th and 18th centuries with large, scale-model dioramas showing scenes of destruction from past events. Models shows the uniforms and equipment that was used during that time. Other parts of the museum show old pictures and films. They have scenes to show the birth of modern fire fighting vehicles, equipment, and fire suits. The museum has some of the very first pumps and hoses that were used. Twentieth-century firefighting history is also shown, and the future of firefighting is an exhibit at the museum, such as high-tech robots. A current working fire station is right next to the museum.

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  1. " Archived 2017-06-22 at the Wayback Machine ." Tokyo Fire Department. Retrieved on February 22, 2018.
  2. "Website Policy Archived 2021-02-16 at the Wayback Machine ." Tokyo Fire Department. Retrieved on May 16, 2010.
  3. "Annual Report" (PDF). Tokyo Fire Department. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 27, 2021. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  4. "dezomeshiki". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 2023-01-23. Retrieved 2023-01-23.

35°41′19.8″N139°45′41.6″E / 35.688833°N 139.761556°E / 35.688833; 139.761556