The idea is that given the high-rise skyline of Dubai, (i.e., the Burj Khalif towers are currently the world's tallest skyscraper at 2722 feet) these emergency responders with jetpacks, that can fly at speeds up to 45 mph, could reach high floors of a skyscraper in about a minute. The flying devices also have a remote-control option, so theoretically they could be sent to someone stranded on a high altitude floor and use the remote control pack to help them reach safety.
A recent article by Kelsey Atherton in Popular Science quotes Dubai’s emergency response leader Lt Col Ali Almutawa:
“The vision of Dubai Civil Defense (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.”
The soon-to-be high-flying emergency responders in Dubai will potentially have to share the skies with emerging emergency response “Drone” technology. A “Shift-Central” report describes the future role for drones in emergency response:
“With companies worldwide developing various types of drones for different purposes, a future with drones replacing first responders isn’t as far-fetched as one would think. One day we could be calling for drones during an emergency instead of calling 911….Drones are already being used in emergency settings with first responders. Last year, an RCMP officer used a quadcopter with an infrared camera to find an injured person after his car flipped over in the snow in Saskatchewan. In North Dakota, police used drones to check on flooded farms. The Mesa County Sheriff's office in Colorado regularly sends their camera-equipped Draganflyer X6 on missions. The flying robots have helped locate missing people and assisted firefighters by surveying burning buildings. The idea is, why not send unmanned robots into high-risk or remote emergency situations first to avoid putting first responders at risk while helping victims more efficiently?”
“Supporters say innovations like these can potentially save thousands of lives, as the survival time after a heart attack is six minutes, while most emergency service providers have around eight minutes as a target response time after being dispatched. Although this prototype isn’t yet “officially flying,” perhaps airborne defibrillators are a stepping stone to a potentially drone-driven emergency services sector.
According to Benjamin Miller, director of Mesa County, Colorado’s unmanned aircraft program, drones can also help save money and allow emergency responders to be more efficient. When looking toward a future with robots helping first responders, it’s clear the technology could save money, time and resources, but more importantly drones could help save lives.”
Until the tasks of first responders are taken over by drones and flying robots, it is important that we continue to train, equip, support and prepare first responders to succeed in their tasks in all circumstances. They should be trained to manage with a wide array of potential emergencies and utilize their specific expertise. Because of the high level of stress, high stress and hyper-stress associated with these situations, first responders should also be prepared to cope with the psychological and physiological challenges that are inherent to their work.