Does your department have a high-angle rescue team? That’s one of the first thoughts that sailed into my head when I saw a recent news report about that just-finished skyscraper in Dubai. Known as the Burj Dubai Spire, the preposterous structure is 2, 684 feet high and has 160 stories of leasable space inside. And considering the recent meltdown in the Dubai economic system, most of it will likely remain leasable for quite a while.
Firefighters look at tall buildings a little differently than normal people. When we see something like this, we’re thinking “How will I get up there?” For everyday visitors, the elevators will be traveling against the pull of gravity at the blood-puddling speed of 40 mph. But with an ongoing mechanical or fire emergency, the elevator is an undesirable risk to use.
And there will be emergencies to tend to, sooner or later. There is a planned supper club / fun zone taking up three floors at the 144, 145 and 146-stories. If this place ever gets occupied, you can bet that there will be instances of distress in that place, requiring some sort of emergency assistance. And just what is it like to be a 1/2-mile above the ground? Well, shortly after “topping off” the building, some of the construction workers took a video camera up to the very tip-top and recorded the view. You have to be impressed with his obviously-awed description: “There is nothing above me. There is nothing around me.”
My guess is, that when that first fire breaks out in the kitchen on the 144th floor, there will be quite a few early retirements filed.
But for now, we’d better get this equipment checked out and be glad that we don’t have to practice repelling off of the Burj Dubai. I’ll go get the coffee started.