Easing of uniform rules is a welcome change for heroic rescuers who put their lives on the line.

One of the basic rules of firefighters and policemen in Japan is that they must not be seen eating or drinking while on duty, even if refreshments are offered by kindhearted souls. Fortunately, the Kimitsu City Fire Department in Chiba Prefecture has decided to bend regulations for the sake of their employees.

The department was founded in 1971, and although guidelines stipulated that each firefighter be issued with two pairs of uniforms, performing civilian activities while wearing them has always been strictly prohibited.

▼ Presumably because having a fully geared firefighter
walking into stores may cause unnecessary panic among customers.

In light of a nationwide shortage of able-bodied firefighters that has caused the fire department’s numbers to drop from an initial 960 members to 883, the organization has decided to ease its dress code policies. This would allow its uniformed firefighters to stop at convenience stores to purchase food and drinks should they need to.

It might seem like a trivial change, but firefighters — on duty or not — must rush to aid civilians whenever catastrophic disasters or fires break out. And when such emergencies occur close to meal times, very often these rescuers end up having to work long hours without a single drop of water or a morsel of food. Running on an empty stomach or getting dehydrated can be especially dangerous, particularly if you are in a line of work that involves saving people from raging infernos.

Kimitsu City Fire Department intends to notify all the city’s 44 fire department branches of the official change in dress code guidelines by the end of this year. Japan’s national firefighting organization, otherwise known as the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, seemed to agree with this unprecedented move.

▼ “There are no particular rules regarding on-duty uniforms.
The change is fine so long as residents do not misunderstand,” they said.

Hopefully this positive change will spread to other prefectures that are still practicing strict uniform policies, a trend that seems to be picking up in some parts of the country. Because even though these firefighters may seem like indestructible heroes who save lives on a daily basis, they are humans like us after all.

Source: Mainichi Newspapers via My Game News Flash
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