Bangkok has its version of the same old story of occupation by various European powers, the French, British, etc.
Today, it is a gigantic city and growing larger by the day.
There are construction cranes by the dozens and they can be seen in all directions for miles on end.
In land area the city is roughly twice the size of New York City and with an equivalent population, around 9 million.
Despite expressways and a mass transit system, vehicular traffic in the city is a critical problem and everyone talks about it.
Zip from the international airport downtown on expressways and then try to exit onto a city street.
Here you can sit in traffic for twenty mintues, not moving an inch, and the sole cause is volume.
Even the fire department has adjusted operations because of it.
I am staying in the Sukhumvit area and there is a fire station nearby.
I walked over as it would have taken an hour by car.
Best I could tell there are 35 fire stations in the city and the one I visited was “heavied-up” by our standards, at least where equipment is concerned.
An engine, two skylifts, a crane, a heavy rescue, an SCBA unit and a rather unique “fast response” vehicle to get through stopped traffic.
Firefighters work a duty schedule of 24 hours on and 24 off.
They liked the idea of a four-day break every once in a while when I explained a US work shift.
Here’s the rescue with a firefighter in his “around-the-firehouse” uniform.
The rescue has SCBA but the engine did not; that’s what the SCBA unit is for, to come along if needed.
As mentioned, they have two aerial platforms here, a 30 meter and a 90 meter.
I’ll climb the 30, thank you.
I couldn’t even figure out how the 90 unfolds.
It has a triple rear axle, and given the traffic, one of those better turn, too.
So, back to traffic and response–they have some very small rigs to squeeze through the jams.
It’s basically a giant power washer on wheels, though they come equipped with SCBA.
Up to three of these can be dispatched to provide some initial aid.
The unit has a couple of hundred gallons of water and a very high pressure pump.
He is holding the nozzle in this photo.
I also visited Chiang Mai, about 500 miles north of Bangkok and in the mountains.
After an exhaustive search I managed to find the fire station but no one to talk to.
And, shortly thereafter, watched Chaing Mai EMS, apparently hospital-based, respond to a bicyclist hit by a car.
He took quite a thrashing but seemed to be in good hands.