Among the many dangers firefighters face at work each day, those high-powered water hoses have enough pressure to cause some serious damage if they ever got loose. But they also make for an entertaining makeshift carnival ride that looks far more aggressive than any sketchy mechanical bull you'll find at a Western-themed bar.
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After three separate instances of drones grounding firefighting efforts, a Southern California county is getting serious about finding and punishing their operators. San Bernardino County Supervisors have offered a $US75,000 reward which they hope will entice people to come forward with information about the quadcopters in question.
Imagine this: it's 3:30 in the morning, and you're deep in some pillowy dreamscape. All is calm; all is serene. Then, a piercing alarm whiplashes your senses: you're awake now, scrambling in the darkness with ten equally frazzled men. In a flurry, boots are pulled on, helmets are snatched off shelves, and you're flying down a 20-foot pole with the rapidity and dexterity of a howler monkey.
Picture this: a drought-fuelled wildfire is heading for a Victorian township, and fast. Millions of lives are at stake, and water can't stop it. When suddenly, a helicopter — armed with what can only be described as a giant cannon — flies straight for flames and BOOM. There's an explosion, and the fire's gone. That's what Australian scientists are working on right now: fighting fires with explosives.
Google Glass sure has its fair share of dumb applications, but some projects mercifully seem to balance them out. Like the apps put together by Patrick Jackson, a firefighter who's writing code to help rescue teams save time — and lives.
OK, Glass, you can hear the cop now. Take a picture of that licence plate. Try: OK, Glass. Record a video of this five alarm fire. Or even: OK, Glass. Search: gunshot wound treatment. It doesn't take much imagination to realise that Google Glass could be a valuable tool for first responders. And now the first app has popped up that could make it a reality.
Firefighters run into flaming buildings for a living, It's not exactly what you might call a safe job. And while they can tell generally how they're doing by noting whether or not they are on fire at any given time, there's a lot more nuance to keeping track of other aspects of their health. That's where data delivery pills come in.
High-atop a mountain, overlooking a picturesque valley in the Warrambungle National Park, sits one of Australia's most precious scientific installations: the Siding Spring Observatory. Home to 11 of the world's most powerful sky-mapping telescopes, Siding Spring this week came under threat from a fire storm so intense that it struck fear into the hearts of senior firefighters. Flames kissed the doorstep of the observatory and the smoke could be seen from space as the dedicated staff watched helplessly from webcams still broadcasting the dramatic events. This is how the fire fight of Siding Spring was fought and won.
More and more furniture today is made using plastic-based materials, which burns much faster than the interior decor of yore, sucking all the oxygen out of a room at a faster clip and making it harder to evacuate people. It's a serious problem that's making firefighters reconsider how they put fires out.
Firefighters are awesome, but it doesn't change the fact that the job puts their lives on the line. This Wi-Fi ball, courtesy of Intel, has sensors built-in that, if thrown into a burning building, could keep our bravest out of harm's way.