1. Outbreak of a fire
  2. Calling a fire truck
  • How to call a fire truck(119)
  • How to call a fire truck from a mobile phone
  • How to call a fire truck from a public telephone
  1. Using a fire extinguisher
  2. The causes of a fire
  • The causes of a fire
  • How to prevent a fire

1.Outbreak of a fire

When a person comes across the scene of a fire, anyone would panic. 
Be as calm as possible and respond quickly. 
The three principles of initial responses are 「Report」, 「Initial fire extinguishing」, and「Evacuation」.

  1. Report:Inform early
  • Make a loud sound to inform others
    Shout out 「火事だー!」 (Kaji da-!) to inform others and neighbors. 
    If you cannot speak Japanese well, shouting “Fire!” or “Help!” will be able to inform others. 
    If you cannot speak, ringing an alarm, hitting things that will make a big sound, like a kettle or pot, will inform about an abnormal condition.
    Report to the fire station
    Even if it is a small fire, always report to 119.
    Here’s the way to report.
  1. Initial fire extinguishing:Extinguish quickly
  • Check the size of the fire
    If the fire’s size is small and spreading sideways, it is likely you can extinguish it.
    There are two ways to judge.
    The view is clear and you can spot the source of the fire.
    The fire is smaller than the ceiling or your height.
    However、if the smoke has filled up the room, taking away your sight and you cannot spot the source of fire or the fire has reached the ceiling or is larger than your height, do not do anything by yourself. Call a fire truck (119) as soon as possible. 
  • Extinguishing a fire by using tools around you and water
    Use a fire extinguisher or water to extinguish the fire.
    If there are cushions or blankets, they can be used to put out the fire by hitting it. 
  1. Evacuation:Run away quickly
  • Leave the place as soon as possible
    It is difficult to extinguish a fire if the flame has reached the ceiling or is larger than your height. 
    Do not push yourself and evacuate as soon as possible.
  • If possible, close doors and windows
    If possible, close the windows and doors of the burning room or building to block the air while evacuating.
    However, do not force yourself!If you feel even slight danger, just evacuate.
  • Do not inhale smoke
    To not inhale smoke, escape at once. 
    If possible, use a towel or handkerchief or cloth (it’s even better if it’s wet) to cover your mouth and nose. 
    If smoke has spread and it is hard to see in front of you, run away in low position. In general, air is cleaner close to the ground.
  • Do not use the elevator
    In a fire or other emergency, the elevator will stop, and you may be trapped inside. Always use the emergency stairs to evacuate.

✔ Smoke at the fire site is very dangerous!
At the fire site, smoke is said to be more frightening than the flame itself. 
This is because smoke will cause the following symptoms and endangers lives.

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning due to incomplete combustion
  • Dyspnea due to lack of oxygen
  • Airway and lung burns from inhaling hot smoke
  • Fear, anxiety, and panic caused by blocked views

Smoke spreads very quickly
According to the Tokyo Fire Department, smoke spreads 3 to 5 meters per second in a vertical direction, and 0.5 to 1 meter per second in a horizontal direction.
If a fire breaks out, evacuate to a safe place as soon as possible.

✔ To let everyone evacuate safely

  • Do not push people
  • No running
  • No talking
  • Do not go back

2.Calling a fire truck(119)

When you are at the scene of a fire, make sure to call a fire truck.
The Number to call a fire truck is 119

Anyone would be unsettled when coming across a fire scene.
Calm down, don’t panic and slowly explain the situation and ask for help.
Also, if you are worried about your Japanese, don’t forget to ask someone nearby for help.

  • When calling a fire truck, you call 119, but you can call not only a fire truck, but also the ambulance with 119.

■■■How to call a fire truck■■■
When you call 119, the dispatcher of the center will ask you the questions below.

  1. Tell them it’s a fire
    Dispatcher:「119番、火事ですか?救急ですか?」 (119 ban, kaji desuka? Kyukyu desuka?) 
        EN:”119, Fire or Emergency?”
    You:「火事です」 (Kaji desu.)
    EN: “It’s a Fire.”
  • 119 handles both fires and emergencies, tell them “fire” 「火事」 (Kaji) clearly.
  1. Tell the address of where you want a fire truck to be dispatched
    Dispatcher:「住所はどこですか?」 (Jyusho wa doko desuka?)
        EN: “Where is the address?”
    You:「○○市□□町△丁目◇番地です」 (○○-shi □□chou/machi △choume ◇bannchi desu)
  • Be sure to tell the name of the city. If you don’t know the address, tell the nearest tall building, intersection, or landmark.
  • The management number on a telephone pole, the control number of a traffic light, the management number on a sign, and the address displayed on a vending machine (soft drinks) can be used to tell the address. If you don’t know the address, try to find these nearby.
  1. Tell about the contents of the Fire
    Dispatcher:何が燃えていますか? (Nani ga moete imasuka?)
           EN: “What is burning?”
    You:一軒家の一階から火が出ています。 (Ikkenya no ikkai kara hi ga deteimasu.)
           EN: ” A fire is coming from a first floor of a house.” 
  • Tell them what’s on fire and what the situation is like.
  1. Tell about any injured people
    Dispatcher:けが人はいますか。 (Kega nin wa imasuka?)
         EN: “Are there any injured people?”
    You:女性が1人、腕にやけどを負っています。 (Jyosei ga hitori, ude ni yakedo wo otteimasu.)
         EN: “There is one woman who has burned her arm.”
  • If there’s multiple injured people, tell the number as well.
  • Tell if there are any people in the building, if there are, tell the number as well.
  1. Tell your name and contact information
    Dispatcher:あなたの名前と連絡先を教えてください。 (Anata no namae to renraku saki wo oshiete kudasai.)
    EN: “Tell me your name and contact information.”
    You:私の名前は○○○○です。電話番号は・・・・です。 (Watashi no namae wa ○○○○. Denwa bango ha…..desu.)
    EN: ”My name is ○○○○. My number is ….”
  • Provide a phone number that can be reached such as a mobile phone number. Please do not turn off the power even after the report is over, you may be asked for direction to the location.

✔ If there are enough people, when you hear the sound of the fire truck, send someone out of the scene to guide them.

<How to call a fire truck from a mobile phone>
Call 119.
The fire department may contact you even when report is over, so please wait without turning off the power.

  • If you want to call while driving, make sure you park your car in a safe place before calling 119.

<How to call a fire truck from a public telephone>
You can call 119 from a public telephone.

■Green public telephone

  1. Lift the receiver
  2. Press the ‘’Emergency Call Button’’
  3. Dial 119

■Gray public telephone or card-type public phone

  1. Lift the receiver
  2. Dial 119

■Pink public phone

・If there is an Emergency Call Button

  1. Lift the receiver
  2. Press the “Emergency Call Button”
  3. Dial 119

・If there is no Emergency Call Button

  1. Lift the receiver
  2. Dial 119

3.Using a fire extinguisher

When finding the scene of a fire, don’t try to handle it by yourself, shout “fire!” 「火事だー!」 (Kaji da-!) to call people.
Fire extinguishers are only for initial use.
Whether the fire is initial or not can be determined from the following points.
The view is clear and can spot the source of the fire.
The fire is smaller than the ceiling or your height.

<How to use the fire extinguisher>

  1. Pull out the safety pin
  2. Remove the hose, point it toward the fire source.
  3. Hold the lever tightly and emit.
  • Emit away from the wind, to the fire. If you are in the direction of the wind, the flames will come toward you and it’s very dangerous.
  • Be sure to secure an escape route before extinguishing the fire.

✔ Check the location of the fire extinguisher on a daily basis
If it is placed far away from the entrance, you may not be able to use it in a time of emergency.
Be sure to check where the fire extinguisher is, if it’s in a good spot, and if it’s ready for immediate use, so that you can be prepared for an emergency.

4.The causes of a fire and fire prevention

① The causes of a fire
There are several possible causes of a fire, but a considerable percentage of fires are caused by carelessness, often called accidental fires. According to the Fire Department’s 『The 2018 White Paper on Fire Service』, the number of fires in 2017 were 39,373 and 70.5% of them have been reported as accidental fires. In addition, looking at the main causes of fires, tobacco, stoves, bonfires, etc. are the main factors outside of arson and suspected arson. (『The 2018 White Paper on Fire Service』, The Fire Department. )

Graph1:Main causes of fires by numbers in 2017
(Made from the graph on 『White Paper on Fire Service 』)
  1.  What to be careful of to not to start a fire 
    As you can see from Graph 1, the danger of fire is hidden in many places in our lives. For fire prevention, be aware of these.
TobaccoAlways put out the tobacco.ベランダでタバコを吸う人のイラストSmoking while walking is dangerous even at home. Ash may fall and the carpet may burst into flames.Never smoke lying down. It is dangerous when fire is caught onto a blanket.
CookingWhen using fire to cook, do not leave the stove.地震になりガスを止める人のイラスト(事故)When you are leaving the kitchen, always turn off the stove.When there is an earthquake while cooking, turn off the stove.
Electrical appliancesUse the cords correctly. In particular, multi-outlet extension cords can cause heat generation from beyond current and cause a fire.Using home appliances for a long period of time can accumulate dust, and when moisture is added, it can cause “tracking phenomenon” which can cause a fire.Be careful with old appliances. For example, there has been a case where a fire broke out from an old fan.
HeaterDon’t put anything around the heater. Be careful with laundry and cushions.ストーブからの出火のイラストWhen leaving, turn it off.In case of an oil heater, do not move or refuel while it is on fire.
ArsonArson is also one of the main causes of fires. To prevent arson, create an environment where it is difficult to commit arson, and fire would be difficult to spread.Don’t put used paper, cardboard, or any flammable materials around the house.Hard to see dark places can be a factor to make it easy for arson. Take measures such as lighting.

In addition, use fire prevention-related products, and it is important to create a cooperative system with neighbors day to day.

・The contents above was created with references to sources shown below. If there is a change in the contents of the reference source, it may take some time to be reflected on to the site. Thank you for your understanding. 


・”4. Causes of Fire”, The 2018 White Paper of Fire Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

・“In case there’s fire” , Tokyo Fire Department

・“What to do when spotting fire” (pdf), Higashimurayama, Tokyo

・“Protecting Lives from Fire: A House Fire Protection Reading”, Japan Fire Protection and Disaster Prevention Association.