Saturday, February 25, 2006

NYC balks at skyscraper escape pods

NYC balks at skyscraper escape pods - Engadget: "It's been almost four-and-a-half years since the tragedy of September 11th, and yet the city whose two greatest structures were toppled has done very little to address safety in existing skyscrapers, and has even denied building permits to an Israeli company looking to test their innovative escape pod system in Manhattan. Escape Rescue Systems, spurred by the ineffective building evacuation methods as demonstrated on 9/11, invented an apparatus wherein a roof-mounted crane lowers five collapsed pods down one face of the structure to await the arrival of emergency personnel. Once firefighters arrive on scene, the stacked pods are expanded one-by-one and climb back up the side of the building, rescuers in tow, to pick up folks evaculating through windows in 150-person waves (5 pods x 30 people/pod- for a video demo, follow the 'Read' link). Even after successful trial runs in Tel Aviv, NYC's Office of Emergency Management claimed that the system has too many faults--possible confusion by rescuers and chaos by evacuees, spreading fire due to open windows, and risk to pod passengers of being burned on descent--to warrant a permit. Company CEO Jonathan Shimshoni admits that the city's concerns have merit, but argues that the only way to address them and make some progress on this largely-ignored problem is to initiate a pilot program and work out"

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