Photo/IllutrationA Tokyo Fire Department ambulance (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

To prepare for emergencies involving athletes and spectators, the Tokyo Fire Department plans to temporarily boost the number of available ambulances during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics by about 80.

It will deploy the additional emergency fleet to athletes’ dormitories and competition venues.

Ambulances are in high demand in July and August, when the Olympics and Paralympics will be held, partly because many people suffer from heat strokes.

As of April 1, the fire department had 259 ambulances.

Ambulances are usually replaced when they have been in use for about six years. After their replacement, older ambulances become spare vehicles.

At that time, still older ambulances that have been kept as backups are retired.

By delaying the retirement of those ambulances, the fire department plans to secure about 80 additional reserve vehicles by July next year. The plan will require no additional funding.

The fire department dispatched ambulances a total of 818,062 times in 2018, breaking the annual record for the ninth consecutive year. The number of dispatches is especially high in the heat of summer.

The fire department has been considering measures to secure a sufficient number of ambulances for the Olympics and Paralympics at the request of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.