Dubai is home to a staggering number of skyscrapers, and battling a blaze hundreds of stories above the ground presents a set of unique challenges for firefighters.
Now the emirate is to give jet packs to its firefighters in order to help them safely complete their jobs. Many other large cities have dedicated firefighting units that receive special training in high-rise fires, but Dubai has gone one better.
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Dubai firefighters can now use jet packs to reach high-rise buildings
While it may sound like something from science fiction, the jet packs could have a practical impact on firefighting in Dubai’s towering skyscrapers. The Dubai Civil Defense has finalized a deal for 20 of the jet packs with the Martin Aircraft Company, in addition to two training simulators.
Far from being just a publicity stunt the Martin Jetpack is a fully-functioning vehicle. It is quite a lot larger than the jet packs imagined by science fiction authors, and comes with a $35,000 price tag.
However it is also capable of carrying a load in excess of 260 pounds, which is sufficient to carry an operator and fire equipment. Being able to reach difficult areas of tall buildings quickly and easily is certainly an advantage in fighting fires, when every second can be vitally important.
Are jet packs the answer to fighting skyscraper fires?
Martin has designed the Jetpack with first responders, such as firefighters, in mind. The units can be operated either by a pilot or via remote control and can take off and land vertically in confined spaces.
Dubai will be a test case for this new use of jet pack technology, and the scheme could yet turn out to be an expensive gimmick. One undoubted positive is that it demonstrates the willingness of the Dubai authorities to try novel approaches to keeping the residents and businesses of the city safe.
“Dubai is one of the fastest growing future cities in the world with its modern skyscrapers and vast infrastructure it has always been a world leader in adapting new technology to improve and save people’s lives, the introduction of Martin Jetpacks into our fleet of emergency response vehicles is another example of how Dubai leads the world” said Lt Col Ali Almutawahe of the Dubai Civil Defence.