Dubai to roll out the use of jetpacks for skyscraper fires by 2017
Dubai is known for its high-tech and out of this world approach to most things. Now it's applying that attitude to putting out fires.
The city has been ordering jetpacks for its emergency services in an effort to find a viable solution to combating fires in its super tall mixed-use buildings.
The move comes after the recent fire in the ironically named Torch Tower (one of the world's largest residential buildings) which saw the the 79-storey skyscraper experience a fire on its upper floors, while the alarm system failed to function automatically. The high-profile incident drew attention to what had been a spate of fires in tall buildings
The Dubai Civil Defence is resolving the problem by hiring jet-packs that have been adapted for the use of flying firefighters. The Martin Aircraft Company is in charge of the design of the jetpacks and is adding a standing platform to the propeller engines to allow the firefighters to carry equipment and move around without having to keep their hands on the controls.
Speaking to the Khaleej Times, Dubai's Civil Defence chief Ali Hassan Almutawa said that the skyscraper fires were a challenge that were particular to Dubai: "Sometimes we also find it difficult to communicate with people in those high-rises, especially when people are panicking from windows or balconies. With the jetpack we can go there and communicate physically with them and give them instructions."
The DCD is hoping to role out its flying firefighters by early 2017.