Re: WTC and Low Tech

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 11:07:52 MDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Spike Jones" <>
> Better idea than rappelling gear: an emergency belt that is
> connected to a steel cable on a reel next to all windows.
> The reel has a centrifugal clutch and damping so that it
> lowers the victim quickly up top and slows her descent
> near the ground. Remember the reel is set according to how
> far it is off the ground. After the victim unbuckles and
> flees, the device could reel in the cable for the next person.
> Recall that a steel cable strong enough to support a human
> is very small, 2 mm diameter is ample. In the case of the
> WTC, there would be no need to design it for a 400+ lb person,
> for a lardbutt would be unable to egress from those
> narrow windows in any case.
> If a lower floor has flames erupting from a window, the cable
> would not overheat in one place, since unlike the rappelling
> idea, the cable moves with the escapee. If we were clever,
> we could come up with a belt that would automatically release
> the escapee when she reached terra firma.
Spike: I like your system. Obviously it would be nice if every building that
is higher than the ladders on fire trucks had this system, but this does not
look likely in the near future. Do you have any ideas about a portable
version of your system? How about a remote controlled model helicopter (or
model rocket?) that carries a line over the building first, and then a
version of your system is hoisted in place? Mark

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