After the heatwave that struck Japan’s capital throughout this summer, the Tokyo Fire Department is preparing additional ambulances and multilingual support for athletes and spectators as a safety measure against a possible surge in heatstroke and heat exhaustion cases at next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, per Japanese news outlet Kyodo News.
Last year a heatwave in the city killed over a dozen people. So far this year 11 people have died and another 5,000 have been taken to hospitals. As a result, Tokyo 2020 organizers have tested ways to keep people cool at an international volleyball event in light of next year’s Games.
These measures include a specially designed main stadium that is supposed to channel cooler air across spectators and onto the track, water mist towers, ice packs, or shaded areas to provide relief to spectators lining up outside venues.
In addition to the aforementioned, the Tokyo Fire Department also aims to have enough ambulances standing by at athletic facilities and the venues as both the Olympics (July 24th to August 9th) and the Paralympics (August 25th to September 6th) fall within Japan’s warmest time of the year.
The Tokyo Fire Department has an approximate total of 260 ambulances. Usually, each new fleet is taken out of service after six years, with older ambulances kept in reserve for some time before being scrapped.
However, as a temporary measure for both the Olympics and the Paralympics, the department is considering holding on to older ambulances that would otherwise have been disposed of, thereby increasing the total number of vehicles.
It also plans on increasing the number of rescue workers available during the 2020 Games through additional overtime shifts and by cooperating with local fire departments.
Earlier this month we reported that between July 29th and August 4th of this year, 57 people lost their lives resulting from heat-related illnesses in the Japanese capital.
When it comes to swimming, athletes who competed at the test event expressed concerns related to the water quality and temperature at a marathon swimming test event for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics which took place on Sunday, August 11, 2019. However, swimming was not the only sport impacted by these extreme temperatures.
Several rowers competing at the World Rowing Junior Championships yesterday in Tokyo had to be treated after experiencing symptoms of heatstroke. That tournament also served as a test event for next year’s Olympics.
Lastly, the International Triathlon Union (ITU)’s Paratriathlon World Cup in Tokyo saw its swimming leg canceled on Saturday, August 17th, due to poor water quality at city’s Odaiba Marine Park. The E. coli bacteria found in a test conducted yesterday was reportedly two times higher than the limit set by the ITU.