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Aerial Firefighting

Kitakyushu City Fire Department Civil Defense Department Fire Aviation Corps
Fire Lieutenant: Honda Hideki

What is a helicopter?
A helicopter is one kind of airplane, flies thanks to lift generated by the engine that turns the rotor on the upper part of the body, and is classified as a rotary-wing aircraft. rotary-

What are the advantages of a helicopter?

A helicopter can take off and land vertically (in a narrow space). A helicopter can hover (stop in the air). A helicopter allows external hanging. A helicopter can fly at low speed and turn at a small radius.

These points are very advantageous to action against disaster. disaster.

What are the disadvantages of a helicopter?

Easily influenced by weather conditions. Typhoon force downwash. Engine noise. Limited carrying capacity. High operating costs.

What helicopters are used for fire fighting?

Fire Helicopter possessed by a municipal fire organization Disaster Prevention Helicopter possessed by a prefectural air force. Both are generically called Fire and Disaster Prevention Helicopters.

Legal Position of the Fire and Disaster Prevention Helicopter

Fire Defense Law (Article 2) A fire company is a group of fire-fighting officials or members who are fireequipped with fire outfits, or a prefectural aerial fire-fighting team. fireOrdinance for Enforcement of the Fire Defense Law (Article 44) An ambulance company shall consist of one or more ambulance cars and three or more rescuers, or of one or more aircraft and two or more rescuers.

The fire and disaster prevention helicopter is legally considered a part of a Fire Company or an Ambulance Company.

History of the Fire and Disaster Prevention Helicopter

1966: Tokyo Fire Department set up an air force and started aerial fire-fighting operation firewith a helicopter. 1980: Hokkaido started the first prefectural operation of a disaster prevention helicopter. 1993: Mobilization Team, Kitakyushushi Fire Air Force, started the operation of a fire helicopter called Kitakyu. 1995: The Great Hanshin Earthquake encouraged the prefectures to own helicopters. 2003: The Fire Defense Law was modified to define a prefectural aerial fire company as a fire company set forth in the former law. 2010: 2010: Air Frame upgrades, start of the second generation of Kitakyuu aviation.

Number of Helicopters in Use

(As of January, 2010)

45 Prefectures: 55 Bodies/72 Helicopters Fire and Disaster Management Agency: 1 Helicopter

Of a total of 47 prefectures, two prefectures do not use helicopters for fire fighting operations.

(Details) Fire Authority Helicopters: 16 bodies/31 helicopters. Prefectural Helicopters: 39 bodies/41 helicopters. Fire and Disaster Management Agency:1 Helicopter.

Status of Helicopter Locations (As of January, 2010)

More than 3 2 1 0 Hokkaido 2 Sapporo 1

Hyogo Pre. 1

Kobe City 2

Miyagi Pre. 1 Sendai City 2

Okayama City 1 Okayama Pre. 1 Hiroshima Pre. 1 Hiroshima City 1

Kyoto 2

Saitama 2 Chiba 2 Fire and Disaster Management Agency; 1 Tokyo Fire Department 6 Kawasaki 2 Yokohama 2

Fukuoka City 2 Kitakyushuu 2

Osaka 2

Shizuoka Pre. 1 Shizuoka City 1 Hamamatsu 1

Aichi Pre. 1 Nagoya City 2

The fire departments in Chiba, Kanagawa, Kyoto, Osaka, and Fukuoka prefectures only own the helicopters. (Prefectural Governments do not own the helicopters). Saga and Okinawa prefectures do not use helicopters.


Types of Fire and Disaster Prevention Helicopters


22 planes


21 planes



3 planes

3 planes

Aviation System
(As of January, 2010) Weekday and daytime operations: 2 Bodies Kitakyushu City and Chiba City Year-round, day time operations: 61 Bodies Year24 hours/365 days of the year operations:9 Bodies HokkaidoMiyagiSaitamaAichi HokkaidoMiyagiSaitamaAichiShimane Sendai SendaiTokyo Fire DepartmentYokohamaKawasaki DepartmentYokohama

Kitakyushu Fire Aviation Corps

Organization Organization
General Affairs Div. Prevention Div. Fire and Disaster Management Dept. Disaster Prevention Div. Crisis Management Div. Fire Station Disaster Prevention Sect. Ambulance Sect.

Fire Aviation Corps

Fire Aviation Corpss Organization

2 pilots 2 mechanics

3 Rescuers
1 Commissioned member

Aviation Corps Base

Kitakyushu Airport

The new airport in kitakyushu was opened on March 16, 2006.

15 km from the center city, constructed on an artificial island covering 372 ha, length of 4,125 m, width of 900m, located approximately 3 km from land.

Kitakyushu City Fire Department Aviation Corps Base

Aircraft and Vehicles

Helicopter: Power source truck: Tractor: Fuel truck:

Command post vehicle:

1 1 1 1

Helicopters Performance and Specifications

Manufacturer: Eurocopter (France) Model: AS365N3 Dauphin Nickname: Kitakyu

Overall length: 13.68 m Overall width: 11.94 m Overall height: 3.81 m Maximum take-off weight: 4, 300 kg
Engine Manufacturer: Turbomca (France) Model: Ariel 2C Horsepower: 851 S.H.P. 2

Maximum speed: 324 km/h Cruising speed: 250 km/h Maximum range: 820 km Maximum flight altitude: 6,000 m Fuel: Jet A-1 Maximum load: 1,158

Main Components

Rescue Hoist
Maximum Load 272 kg/90 m

Camera Visible/Infra-red Camera

Satellite Phone

Digestion Tank 900 Liters

Loud Speaker 1,200 W

EMS Kit High Standard Stretcher

Fire Aviation Corps Members Outfits

Aerial helmet Full body harness

Water rescue
Wet suit Full body harness

Building fire
Protective helmet Fireproof clothes Full body harness

Breathing apparatus

Aerial Activities
Fire Extinguishing a fire in a forest or field. Rescue Water and mountain rescue, and saving survivors from burning buildings. Ambulance Delivering acute patients, as well as doctors and nurses. Collection of information Sending an aerial motion picture with the TV transmitter. WideWide-area support Giving support when a large-scale disaster occurs. largeAdministrative assessment Administrative inspection, taking aerial photos, and public relations.

Mobilization Criteria for Disaster

1. Mobilization for fire
(1) Building fire (flame) (2) Forest/field fire (Kiku, Nuki, Fukuchi, Sakura, and Ishimine Mountain Systems) (3) Hazardous material fire (flame) in special zone, including petrochemical complex (4) Aircraft/ship fire (flame)

2. Mobilization for ambulance

(1) Accident at distant place (2) Emergency delivery to distant place

3. Mobilization for rescue

(1) Water rescue (2) Mountain rescue

4. Mobilization for island disaster

When helicopter is necessary for fire fighting, rescue, or ambulance

5. Mobilization for highway disaster

When helicopter is necessary for fire fighting, rescue, or ambulance

6. Special mobilization
Disaster other than the above for which Director issues a mobilization order

Aviation Corps Mobilization Count

Fire Emergency Rescue Other Fire (Regional) Emergency (Regional) Rescue (Regional) Other (Regional) Total 2008 33 13 10 10 1 2 2 0 71 2009 51 6 18 5 0 3 2 1 86

FireFire-Fighting Operation

Aerial Operations

Aerial operations using a bucket

Bambi Bucket (545 Liters)

Aerial operations using a digestion tank

Fire Attack (900 Liters)

Water Supply
For the water supply method, the corps will directly supply the bucket or tank with water from a hose supply method and supply the flex-tank with water from flexnatural sources such as sea or ponds.

Supply Method

Self-contained System
6,800 Liters

Water Dispersal
Perform at 100 ft (30 m height) and 30 knots (55 km/h speed) Water dispersal criteria may differ depending on each corp.

Ambulance Operation

Kitakyushu Fire Aviation Corpss helicopter is mobilized Corpss mainly to cope with an emergency accident at a remote place (Hiraodai, Kokuraminami-ku) or an island (Ainoshima or KokuraminamiUmashima, Kokurakita-ku) and to deliver a patient to a Kokurakitahospital outside the city or prefecture.

Rescue Operation

Methods of Approaching a Survivor


Repelling descent

Insertion by hoisting

Rescue Gear for Lifting

Select the gear required to lift the person in need of rescue

Saver-bus Ring

Evac. Harness

Rescue Stretcher

Rescue Sling

Angel Harness


Characteristics of Aerial Firefighting

When performing aerial firefighting operations, communication is difficult because of engine noise.

So in order to effectively communicate

Use Hand Signals

Inside the Helicopter

Survivor Confirmed!

Wireless communication with the aviation corps takes place within the helicopter by using headsets or remotes.

Outside the Helicopter


Wireless communication may be used outside of the helicopter if possible. However, if the noise from the helicopter is too loud when on the ground, hand signals must be employed.

Basic Hand Signals





Helicopter Guide Hand Signals








Hoist Hand Signals

Hoist Lower

Hoist Stop


Hoist Raise

Even with low noise, hand signals are effective for communication. Always try to perform safe aerial firefighting operations. operations.

Example of Action against a Disaster

Outline of the Disaster

Mountain Rescue

Date 11:09 on Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Location HikosanHikosan-Kitadake, Soeda-machi, Tagawa-gun, Fukuoka (near SoedaTagawaIpponsugi Observatory) Accident When climbing up Hikosan, a woman (age 72) slipped down about 3 meters, suffered a lesion of about 15 cm in the left part of her head, and bled heavily.

Outline of the Operation

Ground Teams Operation

Five rescuers, three firefighters, and three first-aid personnel firstwere mobilized from Fire Station in Tagawa District. They walked along the route up Hikosan for about 40 minutes, found the survivor, and gave her first aid. Her condition was bad and delivery with a litter was difficult because the slope was steep. Accordingly, they made a request for mobilizing the Kitakyushu Fire Aviation Corps .

Fire Air Forces Mobilization for Wide-Area WideSupport

Date 12:36 on Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Municipal government made a request for support Fire Station in Tagawa District Requirement The disaster site is near to the top of Hikosan and has a steep Hikosan slope, which requires many hours for delivery with a litter. Moreover, the survivor does not stop bleeding. Accordingly, it is necessary to use the helicopter to pick up the survivor and carry her to the heliport of Fire Station in Tagawa District as soon as possible.

Fire Aviation Corpss Members Mobilized Corpss

2 pilots 1 mechanic 3 rescuers (one was an EMT) Total: 6 members

Conditions at the Disaster Site

Weather Sunny Wind direction and speed ENE and 1.8 m/s Visibility Good Altitude About 970 m Ground team Five rescuers, three firefighters, and three first-aid personnel firstmobilized from Fire Station in Tagawa District found the survivor and gave her first aid (to stop the bleeding).

Conditions at the Site (Part 1)


Conditions at the Site (Part 2)


Trail about 1.5 m wide


Staff landing position


Image of the Site

Altitude: About 130 feet

Trees height: About 25 meters

1.5 Trail width: About 1.5 meters

Summary of the Air Forces Operation Force

12:36: 12:36: Receive a request for support. 12:46: 12:46: Start the engine to take off from Kitakyushu Airport. 12:56: 12:56: Arrive at the airspace of Ipponsugi in Hikosan and confirm the location of the ground team by observing smoke. 13:01: 13:01: Insert two members to the site by hoisting (with a harness and guide rope). 13:06: 13:06: Stop the bleeding and put the harness to the survivor. 13:11: 13:11: Move the survivor to a pickup point and make a request for approach. 13:15: 13:15: R1 assists the survivor and the helicopter starts lifting them with the hoist. 13:16: 13:16: Accommodate the survivor and R1 in the helicopter. 13:18: 13:18: Lower the hoist (with the guide rope) again and start lifting R2. 13:19: 13:19: Accommodate R2 in the helicopter. 13:20: 13:20: Leave the site and start carrying. 13:28: 13:28: Land on the heliport of Fire Station in Tagawa District. 13:29: 13:29: Pass the survivor to the ambulance company and stop the engine. 13:43: 13:43: Start the engine. 13:46: 13:46: Take off from the heliport. 13:58: 13:58: Land at Kitakyushu Airport and stop the engine.

During hoisting

The aerial fire-fighting operation is special but firefollows the same basic principles as a normal firefirefighting operation. They are:

Safe, Certain, and Quick.