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The Anti-Skyscraper Law That Shaped Sydney, Australia

When we look at visions of the future from the 20th century we often imagine the lone inventor or solitary artist concocting the fantastical world of tomorrow in isolation. But it's amazing how frequently both government regulation and the lack of regulation can influence the future of a given city in ways we don't… » 8/13/14 5:44pm 8/13/14 5:44pm

The Rise and Fall of the Fireman’s Pole

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… » 8/11/14 12:00pm 8/11/14 12:00pm

Using Explosives to Put Out Wildfires Is Actually a Great Idea

Picture this: a drought-fueled wildfire is heading for Los Angeles, 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. » 5/21/14 5:21pm 5/21/14 5:21pm

Google Glass for Police Brings Us Closer to a RoboCop Reality

Ok Glass, you can hear the cop now. Take a picture of that license 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 realize that Google Glass could be a valuable tool for first responders. And now, the first app has… » 8/19/13 2:04pm 8/19/13 2:04pm

This Is What Happens When You Fight a Five-Alarm Fire in Single-Digit…

Firefighting is an extremely dangerous job on par with helicopter linemen and DC pizza delivery boys. But when fighting a Chicago-area warehouse inferno earlier today, crews had to endure both fire and ice caused by temperatures hovering just above 0 degrees F. Check out shots of the fire's aftermath over at WSJ. » 1/23/13 5:20pm 1/23/13 5:20pm

Firefighters Can Take Smart-Pills That Report Back Important Data About…

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… » 1/20/13 2:07pm 1/20/13 2:07pm

Cheap, Plastic-Filled Furniture Makes It Easier for Fire to Destroy Our…

Today, more and more furniture is made using plastic-based materials, which burns drastically 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 completely reconsider how they put… » 7/03/12 7:30pm 7/03/12 7:30pm

Intense Firefighter Footage Puts You Inside a Burning Building

There are things you instinctually don't do. Rushing into a burning building is one. Fortunately for the citizens of Detroit, firefighters have tossed those instincts aside and with the help of Contour HD helmet cams have created an incredible video that shows what it's like to battle a blaze. » 10/24/11 2:20pm 10/24/11 2:20pm