As buildings continue to get taller and taller, their occupants worry about one thing: What happens if there's a fire?
Although building fires are less common these days than they were in the past, it's still a valid concern. Especially for those working or living in skyscrapers. These buildings are difficult to evacuate safely, and even more difficult to extinguish from the ground.
Leave it to Dubai to experiment with a possible solution. This extravagant city is well-known for its theatrics—its police force wears Google Glass headsets, and they all drive Lamborghinis—but this time, they might actually be onto something.
This week, officials in Dubai signed a contract with Martin Aircraft Company to order 20 jetpacks. These jetpacks are intended to be used by firefighters and first-responders, particularly for when an issue occurs in a high-rise.
Dubai's firefighters get jetpacks to tackle highrise blazes - Wired https://t.co/0n9Isofp22
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"Sometimes we have challenges or difficulties to reach the top floors of those buildings," says Lt. Col. Ali Hassan Almutawa of the Dubai Civil Defense service. "The [jetpacks] can go into confined spaces to size up the situation. We are going to modify them with thermal imaging cameras."
Almutawa also explained that the team would be testing out additional ways that the jetpacks could be used. For example, a "mule train" could be towed behind a lead jetpack to serve as "rescue packs" for stranded people who need to be evacuated.
"There could be many other roles," Almutawa said.
The possibilities are nice to imagine, but the perfect solution is still a long way off. Although Martin Jetpacks are cutting-edge, they're still incredibly bulky. They're not the streamlined packs we've all seen in sci-fi films. Plus, they can only carry around 260 pounds, which might account for the pilot, but would exclude other equipment the pilot might need.
What do you think? Is this just another example of Dubai flexing their elaborately, flashy muscles? Or is this a breakthrough idea that other cities should explore? Let us know in the comments below.