1-1-9 is the number you''d call when there''s a fire, and not surprisingly, Jan. 19 is designated as Fire Prevention Day in Taiwan. On Sunday, the Hualien County Fire Department marked the occasion by showing off its aerial rescue capabilities with the deployment of a Blackhawk helicopter and the highest aerial ladder on the East Coast. To gets kids interested in fire safety, the fire department also paraded their search and rescue dogs who will join the rescue team upon completing training.

A Blackhawk helicopter slowly descends, ruffling up people''s hair and causing nearby trees to sway in the strong wind.

Here, a rescue worker rappels down from the Blackhawk helicopter and straps on a tether, successfully simulating rescue maneuver. As Fire Prevention Day approaches, the Hualien County Fire Department used the occasion to conduct a mock rescue mission, putting on quite a show.

Member of public

The kids probably felt very scared by the strong wind when the helicopter descended.

Member of public

It was quite an experience to see a helicopter at such a close range.

This was the first time that the public was allowed to get up close and personal to the aircraft and get their pictures taken with it. On the other side of the venue parked a fire engine that had a 52-meter aerial ladder where people were allowed to get on for a ride. Kids and adults alike were having the time of their lives.

In addition to the tallest aerial ladder on the East Coast, three rescue dogs were the center of the public''s attention. They have to successfully pass various tests to join the local rescue team. The adorable pooches easily won the hearts of the spectators.

Lin Wen-rui

Director General, Hualien County Fire Dept.

They will undergo tests in March. After they pass, they will become official search and rescue dogs. We are an intermediate capacity special search team. After the search and rescue dog training is completed, the search team can be certified as having advanced capacity. Hualien is a place that''s prone to natural disasters, so it is our key task to strengthen our disaster relief capabilities, so that the public will know that our disaster prevention capabilities have been greatly improved.

The event organizer hoped that the public can be reassured when it comes to the fire department''s fire fighting and rescue capabilities, and that knowledge of fire safety can be deeply ingrained in the public.