‘Rescue Reel’ Device Inspired By 9/11 Attacks Seeks To Save High-Rise Fire Victims

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It looks like something that Batman might use.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, many security experts have been concerned about how to escape from a high-rise.

That’s where the “Rescue Reel” comes in.

The device weighs about 22 pounds and is fire-engine red. Users would attach its large, yellow metal hook to something stable, like a door. The user would then step into a harness, which is similar to a child’s safety swing. The harness clips to the back of the reel’s housing. With the hook and harness attached, the reel pays out about 1,000 feet of line – suitable for scurrying down the sides of a building.

Watch the Rescue Reel demo video:

The reel limits the speed of the descent to 6 feet per second. There’s also a user-controlled brake, in case one needs to avoid obstacles or stop on the way down. The cord itself is a fiber line.

It isn’t cheap, though. The device is expected to cost around $2,000.

Dr. Kevin Stone, who developed the device, believes it will be ready for market in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Stone says the horrific leaps from the burning twin towers inspired him to develop the device.

“Knowing that I could reel in a 400 pound fish, I felt like I should be able to reel out a 400 pound person,” Stone said.

Would you try this device? Good idea? Bad idea? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Marshall

    It cracks me up how poeple who have never been in a rescue situation can be such experts. This is a ligit idea here. The cost would easily be offset substantially by the amount of liability avoided here. Looks easy to use and could help reduce loss of life. If anyone thinks you would not take the risk of using such a device, just look at what people choose to do rather than burn. Any option is better than the flying leap, except burning or having your lungs fill with smoke to your death.

  • crabman

    beats jumping

  • ep to

    How about an enclosed water (or dry) slide (tube) spireling down around the outside of the building. During normal nonemergencies it could be a thrill ride and make money.

  • Paul Kennedy

    Something like this has been available for a long time for parachute harnesses without the breaking control and 1000′ of cable. It’s use is primarily for repelling out of trees. Good idea, however, the cost will prove to be a roadblock.

  • M. B. Brown

    Brave be the person that uses this with Sh%ting in their pants.
    Forgetahbout it.
    And you think this is gonna work for someone 100 stories up with
    a group of people needing it all at once ?

  • Schmellma Fingers

    Big deal, life is over rated and death is just a state of mind. Take a walk ….. and don’t come back.

    • Aleseller

      You first

  • jagdish

    Good idea – people would dangle on strings and burn like marshmellows in a campfire. No wait, that’s bad.

  • Safety First

    Great except it would have almost helped no one
    in the WTC disaster as a panic and fight may have ensued as
    to who was going to use this device first 1000 feet at best is
    just ten stories,nice try to tie this in commercially with our downtown
    disaster. Most people die in a fire in 30-50 seconds from smoke I
    really feel there would be no time to set this up get the courage to use it
    and fly out a window in that amount of time, Cavet Emptor.

    • Michael H.

      at 10 feet per story average, 1000 feet is 100 stories. a 10 story building is little more than 100 feet tall.

      • crabman

        o k your point

    • badman

      I’ll bet you’re a doctor, too. Am I right?

  • NF911

    This is a great idea and I think it would be even better if hooks were available by each window on high risers where this instrument could be attached.

  • dgt5855

    It’s a wonderful idea, but I worry about the line being made of fiber. If you have to reel down past a burning floor with flames coming out of a building, would the fiber burn and break with a person on the line? Nonetheless, the idea seems plausible and better than anything in place right now.

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