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Watch one of Dubai’s flying firefighters tackle ‘blaze’ with water-powered jetpack

Why it matters to you

In certain situations, these flying firefighters, with their water-powered jetpacks, could be first on the scene to help contain a fire until the trucks turn up.

Dubai’s cops and paramedics may have been grabbing all the attention with their rather swish motors in recent years, but now it’s the turn of the city’s firefighters to try out the cool stuff.

Not a place to do things by halves, Dubai has equipped some of its firefighters with water-powered jetpacks to help tackle blazes quickly and effectively from pretty much any angle they like.

In a demonstration video (above) released by the Dubai Civil Defense (DCD), we’re shown a firefighter speeding across the water on a Jet Ski as he makes his way to a car burning on a bridge, though in this case the flames are represented by smoke from flares.

Within seconds of arriving at the scene, the firefighter deploys his jetpack, the force of the water elevating him to street level, and then higher. After quickly assessing the situation, he activates the hose to tackle the “flames,” drawing the water from the canal below.

The technology enables the city’s firefighters to reach blazes on bridges more quickly than if they had to negotiate busy roads during the rush hour. It also gives them easier access to fires in buildings located along waterways, as well as to boat-related incidents.

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Dubai first revealed its firefighter jetpack plans in 2015 after it signed a deal with New Zealand company Martin Aircraft to develop the system. The original plans suggested the jetpacks could be used to elevate firefighters to great heights to tackle fires that broke out inside any of the city’s many skyscrapers, but with water powering the packs, and no suggestion in the video that they can go particularly high, the current system is relatively limited in its use. Still, you can bet the firefighters are stoked to have it as part of their toolkit.

It’s thought the city’s fire service has around 20 jetpacks available for use, with each one costing around $35,000.

Commenting on the initiative when it was first unveiled, DCD’s Lt. Col. Ali Almutawa said, “Dubai is one of the fastest-growing future cities in the world with its modern skyscrapers and vast infrastructure … the introduction of Martin jetpacks into our fleet of emergency response vehicles is another example of how Dubai leads the world.”