High Rise Escape Device

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High Rise Escape Device

Postby Cody JW » Aug 30, 2011 1:46 pm

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Ten years after watching people trapped in the World Trade Center towers jump to their deaths, a San Francisco inventor is bringing to market a personal escape harness that works in buildings as tall as 100 stories.

The first commercial devices will be made in Indiana by a handful of small plastic-molding, engineering and machining firms whose owners hope to land long-term contracts to make the product, called Rescue Reel.

The initial batch of 200 or so units should be produced and ready for sale by Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

"I started thinking about it the moment I saw people holding hands and jumping out windows (of the World Trade Center)," said Dr. Kevin R. Stone, a San Francisco orthopedic surgeon with a knack for invention.

By 2006, working with engineers, Stone had a working Rescue Reel prototype. It relies on iron-strong Kevlar cord, wound tightly around a reel, to allow people to safely rappel from high-rises.

When Stone wrote about his invention in Newsweek magazine a year ago, Indianapolis businessman Birch Dalton emailed Stone with some ideas about producing it. A few months later, the two were partners in the manufacturing process.

The team in Indiana will build the first 1,000 Rescue Reels, then Stone will decide where the manufacturing will land permanently.

"We're thrilled to be here. We appreciate the phenomenal skill sets that exist here," Stone said last week from the offices of Bose Public Affairs Group, in Chase Tower, which is helping him with marketing and contract procurement.

Stone and his wife, Susan, who is chief financial officer for his orthopedic clinic and side businesses, spent a day talking to suppliers Dalton has lined up to make the plastic housing and internal parts for the Rescue Reel. The cord will be the only component not made in Indiana, Dalton said.

How big a market exists for Rescue Reel is anyone's guess, but it could be broad, said Stone, whose other inventions include Joint Juice, a nationally marketed drink supplement that promotes healthy joints.

Landlords might buy the rescue devices by the dozens and put "a stack on the roof" of their buildings, Stone said. The doctor thinks other markets include buyers of high-rise condos; the elderly and disabled who work in tall buildings and worry about not being able to use the stairwells in emergencies; and operators of oil rigs, wind turbines and cruise ships.

"This hopefully will turn out to be one of the positives to come out of the 9/11 tragedy," Stone said. "I hope it sets off a whole new trend in building safety."

Stone said he and his wife have spent about $3 million to develop Rescue Reel. Only one working prototype exists.

The device could prove appealing to high-rise owners, managers and tenants if it works as promised, said Ken Petruska, a senior vice president at Summit Realty, a building management and brokerage firm in Indianapolis.

"There are a lot of logistical things that would need to be figured out," such as how users of the device would break windows to climb out, Petruska said. "If you can get through some of these logistical items, I do think there would be a demand for it."

Dalton said a plant in the Indianapolis area would employ a few dozen people.

"We have good engineers, good people. It's that collaborative environment," he said.

The Rescue Reel will be priced at $1,800 to more than $2,000, depending on how many feet of cord a buyer wants.

Stone and Dalton want to find ways to lower the cost of the cord, which makes up at least 30 percent of the cost of each unit.

If the price can be cut, Stone said, he envisions a time when personal escape devices like his could become as ubiquitous in high-rise buildings as fire extinguishers.

http://www.indystar.com/article/2011083 ... cue-device
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby KeyserSoze » Aug 30, 2011 7:31 pm

For $1800 you could buy a massive 9mm rope and a bunch of petzel stop rappelling devices. How long of a 9mm rope can you get?
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby self-deleted_user » Aug 30, 2011 7:50 pm

LOL that was my thought...$1800 buys a LOT of vertical gear and rope...dude I wish I had $1800...
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby Cody JW » Aug 30, 2011 7:53 pm

I realize the cost is prohibitive for caving but I thought it was kind of interesting. I saw this in our local paper today. It looks like it will be made right here in Indy. I too thought about the possibility of using SRT to escape from a high rise after 9-11. I also thought about having a cable ladder and a designated anchor to escape from a 2nd or maybe third story house window in an emergency. Some on this forum may remember the MADD, an idea for a motorized ascending device from back in the 80s or early 90s.
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby Cheryl Jones » Aug 30, 2011 10:50 pm

A simpler solution, but with only 20m of rope, so wouldn't be of much help on a high rise. But I guess you could make your own with a larger bag and longer rope.
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby Cody JW » Aug 31, 2011 7:39 am

Cheryl Jones wrote:A simpler solution, but with only 20m of rope, so wouldn't be of much help on a high rise. But I guess you could make your own with a larger bag and longer rope.
PMI Emergency Bailout Kit
http://shop.pmirope.com/solutions-and-k ... sterID=535
I looked at this . I do not think it would be wise to use an escape 8 on a 50 story building. I guess it would be better than jumping. The big problem I can see with using our SRT techniques in a high rise evacuation is time. You would need to bring the seat and rack back up from the bottom and each person would have to put on the seat . With the amount of people in a high rise I do not think it would be feasable from a time standpoint, even with multiple ropes. I bet the families of the people who died at The World Trade Center on 9-11 would of been happy to spen d the $$$ on this thing. I have sent the person here in Indy in charge of this thing an e-mail and told him who I am and about vertical caving and about my rappel experience at Bridge Day and Golondrinas ect. and he sent me an e-mail back and wants to meet with me. I am most interested in the Kevlar line this thing uses.
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby LukeM » Aug 31, 2011 7:53 am

All the suggestions people have brought up have one thing in common and that is that they require some level of training prior to being used. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing this device is much easier to use than a Stop or an Escape 8. Otherwise, what would be the point? You'd have to have periodic, involved training sessions just to keep keep everyone comfortable with the device - all for an event that is extremely rare.
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby trogman » Aug 31, 2011 9:27 am

Base jump! :laughing:
Yes, I know that that would require training as well. But if it was a choice of jumping with a chute and w/o proper training, or just plain jumping, the choice would be easy. At least I would have a chance.

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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby Scott McCrea » Aug 31, 2011 9:40 am

Always have an efficient exit strategy.

I wonder how many of these things will actually get used. My bet would be less than 0.01%. Not an efficient strategy.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt is a powerful marketing tool. Couple that with the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and they'll sell a lot more than 1000. Maybe I should invest--in the company, not the product.
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby Chads93GT » Aug 31, 2011 9:45 am

I think if I worked in a high rise, office cube type job, under my desk I would have stashed a harness, a rack and enough rope to rig and reach teh ground ;)
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby NZcaver » Aug 31, 2011 10:37 am

LukeM wrote:All the suggestions people have brought up have one thing in common and that is that they require some level of training prior to being used. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing this device is much easier to use than a Stop or an Escape 8. Otherwise, what would be the point? You'd have to have periodic, involved training sessions just to keep keep everyone comfortable with the device - all for an event that is extremely rare.

:exactly:

This device appears to be a larger version of the automated belay systems used on many climbing walls, but is attached directly to a person via a sling-seat type harness rather than being secured at the top. Basically a closed reel that lowers you at a semi-constant speed. Almost idiot-proof, and unlike traditional rappelling or belaying it would require little to no specialized training.

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Quite different from traditional firefighter etc bailout kits. I own one of the SMC escape kits with a mini-8 and 80 feet of ~6mm tech cord in a compact waist harness pouch. Of course I always wear it when I go into a high rise building for any reason. :shhh: Seriously, I shudder to think what would happen if a complete neophyte were to try using a regular bailout kit in a life-or-death situation.
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby DeanWiseman » Aug 31, 2011 10:40 am

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Super cool. Even looks kinda' fun to use...


Thanks for sharing!

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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby Marlatt » Aug 31, 2011 12:02 pm

Bill Forrest briefly marketed a similar concept toward the end of Forrest Mountaineering. It had the same kind of bag-harness, a generous length of 5.5mm Kevlar cord, and a spool descendeur. I just found a picture of the spool descendeur on Garry Storrick's site: http://storrick.cnc.net/VerticalDevicesPage/Rappel/SpoolPages/VSpool417.html. The 5.5mm Kevlar cord had a brief period of popularity, as it was very strong and had amazing abrasion resistance, but was shown that it became quite brittle with repeated flexing - not a great trait for general climbing or caving, but ok for an emergency.

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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby Caver John » Aug 31, 2011 12:25 pm

My only concern would be initiating the descent and then Having the Kevlar cord melt through. I never thought I'd say this , but maybe cable would be better, or some sort of aramid fiber
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Re: High Rise Escape Device

Postby self-deleted_user » Aug 31, 2011 2:13 pm

I'm curious about what it's anchored to up top. It must be pre-rigged? I mean let's think...in the situations such a thing would be used in, would be full of panic. I could easily see people slinging it around themselves barely checking to see if they were in the harness properly and totally forget to rig it! So...no better than a freefall again. But where would you anchor a jizzilion of these in a highrise? Would there be enough windows/space for everyone on that floor? If there wasn't one for everyone, again issues with panic...people fighting over them, fighting each other to get them on, people running into each other while they are rappelling down? I'm just curious how those sorts of problems will be avoided.

Even those kits that Cheryl linked...yeah ok makes sense for home use if you know how to use it and have it ready. But like, as jansen suggested he wears it in highrises or whatever (joke or not, I can't tell if he was joking) so great *he* knows how to use it and could do it in his sleep, but what about everyone *else* who sees him getting ready to go out the window in a rope and starts clawing at him to take it for themselves or in panic messes up whatever rigging he did up top while he's on his way down or whatever. People aren't going to be thinking *logically* - even if you yourself can, I would suspect it would be a mess dealing with everyone else!
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