We keep life-saving devices nearby when we go on a boat, a plane, or even into the backcountry. But when we go to work or arrive home on the 15th floor of a high-rise, the stairs are likely our only escape plan. Until now. Israeli firm SkySaverUSA has created a portable escape system that looks and acts like a backpack but allows you to safely rappel from a building in an emergency.
The SkySaver personal rescue device can hold up to 290 pounds. All you have to do in the event of, say, a fire, is hook a cable to a stable anchor near a window, then rappel down the side of your building. The backpack feeds out a fire-resistant cable long enough to deliver you safely down 35 stories.
The company's website explains, "Fire exits and escape routes are not always designed to enable all building occupants to escape in an emergency. SkySaver can be attached virtually anywhere, enabling evacuation through your nearest window rather than a congested communal exit route."
There are a few other personal survival kits like this for occupants of multistory buildings. One notable product, SOS Parachute, also looks like a backpack but functions as a last-resort parachute for emergencies in skyscrapers. It's certainly another good option in dire straits and can carry about 100 more pounds than SkySaver supports. But there is something to be said for the simplicity and lack of skill needed to operate SkySaver. And at the very least, it's another option that could give high-rises a more robust safety plan—and for you, peace of mind.