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Tokyo Fire Dept. unveils new test room imitating extreme heat, cold

A firefighter runs on a treadmill under lighting that mimics sunlight in the Tokyo Fire Department's Fire Technology and Safety Laboratory's test room in Shibuya Ward on April 20, 2017. (Mainichi)

The Tokyo Fire Department has developed a testing room where the bitter cold of mountain terrain or the scorching heat of urban areas and other rough environments can be artificially created, and unveiled the facility to the media on April 20.

    The test room is located at the department's Fire Technology and Safety Laboratory in Shibuya Ward, and is the first facility of its kind in Japan. At roughly 14 square meters in size, the temperature of the room can be adjusted from minus 20 to 80 degrees Celsius and the humidity can be set between 10 and 80 percent. Lights that imitate the sun, as well as freezing equipment and a system that emits strong infrared light to resemble conditions in a fire have also been installed.

    The room was completed in March at a cost of roughly 100 million yen. It will be used to conduct research on countermeasures for heatstroke in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and to develop firefighting equipment, among other uses.

    On April 20, a firefighter dressed in fire-resistant gear ran on a treadmill in the room with the temperature set at 39.5 degrees Celsius with 60 percent humidity while data about stress on his body was collected. The effectiveness of sun umbrellas and hats in combating heatstroke, along with other experiments using the room, were demonstrated for reporters.

    A representative for the Tokyo Fire Department stated, "We would like to use this facility for the prevention of heatstroke for the citizens of Tokyo and for the safety of our firefighters."

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