The tragedy of September 11th inspired a device designed to prevent future tragedies. It won't stop terrorists - but it can help you get out of a skyscraper alive.
I found the RibicRESCUE, an automatic repelling device.
It's designed to let you get out of a high-rise building, even if you don't have a rescuer to help you.
Jack Challis was talking to a friend in Germany as they both watch the attacks unfold on television. The same images that disturbed us all that day spurred them into action.
"We were on the telephone and literally saw the people jumping from the building on television, live, together. Herald was virtually in tears and made the statement we needed to do something about that," Challis says. "I told him that he was the engineer with the inventive background - he needed to come up with an answer.
"For the last two years, we've been working on RibicRESCUE to introduce it at this time," says Cahllis, the Vice President of RibicRESCUE.
This is what he developed:
An enclosed spool of steel cable, which attaches to your upper body with a harness - and a hand-operated braking system.
In an emergency, you can open a window or break one out, attach the end of the cable to something solid - and bail out.
Even if you fall unconscious, the RibicRESCUE is supposed to lower you to the ground at a safe speed.
You can get two sizes of the automatic rappelling device: one for buildings as tall as 66 stories; the other for buildings up to about 110 stories.
They weigh 30 and 36 pounds, respectively.
You can store it in a closet, cabinet or drawer until you need it. And then it should allow you to escape without anybody's help.
"It's going to be very difficult. But the alternative is staying there. Now, the device was developed as a last resort," Challis says.
The "what ifs" of September 11th defy the imagination. With chunks of building falling, a steel cable would have been no guarantee of safety.
But undoubtedly, the RibicRESCUE would have saved lives.
Says Challis: "We wish it has been available then instead of being the result of that occurrance to get it developed."
It's built in Germany, where Herald Ribic developed it. But Reno is the North American headquarters and it could eventually be manufactured here.
The RibicRESCUE costs about $800 for the 66-story version and about $850 for the 110 story version, and that is not out of the question if you think of it as insurance.
While you hope you never use it - it is priceless if you need it.
To get more information on the RibicRESCUE, go to the "links" page on this Web site for a direct connection to the RibicRESCUE Web site.
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