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Dubai Is Giving Its Firefighters Jetpacks (Yes, Really)

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It could almost be an Onion headline, but this is a real thing: Dubai is equipping its firefighters with a fleet of jetpacks.

At first glance, it seems like a typically ostentatious move from a city with a police force of supercars. And it probably is, in part, but the space-age gadgets are also intended to serve a legitimate purpose.

“We see them performing a first-responder role,” said Lt Col Ali Hassan Almutawa, director of the Dubai Civil Defence Operations Department, according to the BBC. “Sometimes, in fires, people go to the top of the building. You cannot always get ladders there, and you cannot always use the elevators.”

Fighting a blaze in a towering skyscraper presents a unique set of challenges for both the equipment and the fighters, so Dubai is engineering an equally unique solution. The jetpacks in question have been in the works since 1981, and can reportedly fly up to 914.4 m, at 74 km/h, for 30 minutes at a time.

This isn’t the only high-flying news to come out of Dubai recently. Remember the two daredevils with jetpacks who flew with an A380?

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