Skip to comments.Parachute push for city high flyers [In case of terror attack, jump!]
Posted on 10/06/2005 1:05:36 PM PDT by cloud8
EVERYONE who lives or works above the 13th floor in Melbourne should consider buying an escape parachute in case of a terror attack, Victoria's former top cop says.
Former chief commissioner Kel Glare said yesterday a parachute could make the difference between life and death in a terrorist attack or fire.
"I think it's a serious consideration for people above the 13th floor to equip themselves with a personal parachute," he said.
"The fire ladders will only reach to the 13th floor.
"If you're above that and you have something like we had in New York, there were people there leaping from windows dozens of stories up to certain death.
"With a personal parachute they at least would have a reasonable chance of survival."
Specialist emergency parachutes for high-rise dwellers with no parachuting experience can be ordered on the internet or through Australian parachute suppliers for about $2500.
Police Minister Tim Holding slammed Mr Glare's suggestion.
"This is irresponsible. It's wrong to be spreading such information," he said.
And the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said leaping from a burning building with a parachute was too risky.
"You couldn't do it in the middle of Melbourne," assistant chief fire officer Greg Bawden said. "Where would you land?"
He said a parachutist could fly "right into the tram wires and the overhead power lines and any firefighting activities that might be going on down in the street".
Mr Glare, who said he was not involved in any parachute company, said office workers could keep a parachute under the desk.
"You don't have to have any expertise. All you do is just throw yourself out," he said.
"It's a great piece of personal insurance."
For office workers and residents with sealed windows, Mr Glare said they could break a window or climb to the roof.
Emergency parachutes are designed to carry the person away from the building and out of danger, not directly downwards.
Melbourne parachute supplier the Freefall Factory believes an escape parachute is not such a crazy idea.
"If you're stuck in a building and the only way out is either over a balcony or through a window then sure, this is a good idea," operations manager John Berman said.
High-rise residents and office workers in Melbourne yesterday gave a mixed response. Some were bewildered, while others said it raised their fear of a terrorist attack.
Counter-terrorism design expert Peter Hoad, from Arup Security Consulting, said parachuting from a building could be more dangerous than staying put.
Most terror attacks involved explosives, unlike the World Trade Centre attack when planes flew into the towers.
"Large-scale explosions are generally at ground floor level or below. Very often by departing a building you're in fact placing yourself at greater risk," he said.
"Explosions are more often multiple than single blasts. So the threat is likely to repeat itself."
AT first thought, what a stupid idea. Second thought, it beats the hell out of splatting on pavement if the only resort is jumping from a buring building. Third thought, investigating new ideas for quickly evacuating sky scrapers is a great idea.
Buildings are already equiped with equipment to hang scaffold over the side (high rise only). Escape elevators mounted on the roof inside removable parapets? inflatable tubes that can be sent down the building (what a ride1)? The discussion is worth having.
Such equipment is for sale now
If you have some mountainering skills, try
If you figure 15 ft to a 'story', then a standard rock climbing rope (150 Ft) or an extended version (165 ft) should get you out of a 9 or 10 floor building.
Dont forget your attachment device, harness, 'biners, smoke mask and gloves
Personally, I would not work above the 8th floor.
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