Dubai to equip firefighters with specially-designed Jetpacks

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Dubai, they say, is a Mecca for tourists and shoppers from across the globe. Over the years, this desert city has been transformed into a luxury destination, replete with stunning hotels, malls and some of the finest restaurants in the entire world. The most populous city in all of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is known for its spectacular skyscrapers, like the Burj Khalifa. With increase in the number of such high-rise buildings, however, authorities have expressed concerns over fire-related safety.

Fires in skscrapers are usually quite problematic. Given the towering height of such a building, accessing certain parts of the structure during a fire, getting the proper equipment to where it is needed or even communicating with the people present inside may prove difficult. To help them tackle fire-related emergencies more effectively, the city’s Directorate of Civil Defence will soon equip its firefighters with specially-designed Jetpacks.

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At the recent Dubai Air Show, the Directorate of Civil Defence signed a memorandum of understanding with New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company, aimed at the intended future delivery of both unmanned and manned Jetpacks, high-tech simulators, spare parts and so on. According to the agreement, the company will initially provide a total of 20 Jetpacks and two advanced simulators. Additionally, its services will include initial training of fire personnel and complete operational support. Speaking about the contract, Lt Col Ali Almutawa said:

The vision of Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) is protecting lives, properties and environment and to provide fast professional service, efficient investment of human and material sources to give best results. 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.

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Designed to be operated by a pilot or via remote control, the Martin Jetpack is intended for first-responder use and is actually capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). Thanks to somewhat small size, the contraption can be safely used in confined spaces, such as in between buildings and around trees. Unlike quadcopters, howevers, these Jetpacks can carry significant commercial payloads of nearly 120 kg (around 265 lb).

According to the developers, the Jetpack can be used for a variety of tasks, including surveillance, transportation of heavy equipment, high-rise rescue as well as swift deployment of firefighters and specialist teams to the target area. Peter Coker, CEO of the Martin Aircraft Company, said:

The UAE has such strong and visionary leadership that has recognized the importance and utility of our technology and we look forward to the day when His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, who we know is also a keen aviator, flies one of our Jetpacks and experience the practicality of what the future holds for us all.

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Source: Martin Aircraft Company

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