Helicopter Helps Extinguish Fires in Skyscrapers

Helicopter Helps Extinguish Fires in Skyscrapers

A Russian Helicopter official says the Ka-32A11BC could put out a fire at the top of the tallest building in the world.

November 11, 2012

A new Russian helicopter could put out a fire at the top of the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – when the complexities of high altitude make using traditional fire-fighting techniques impossible, a Russian Helicopters official told the High-Rise Aerial Firefighting & Rescue conference at Dubai Helishow 2012.

The Ka-32A11BC is an all-weather coaxial rotor helicopter that can be equipped with special horizontal fire-fighting equipment. The helicopter was showcased in Dubai by Russian Helicopters, part of state defence holding Oboronprom and a leading global designer and manufacturer of helicopters.

“Today this helicopter is a unique and highly effective tool for tackling fires in high-rise buildings and skyscrapers,” Dmitry Zuikov of Russian Helicopters says. “The Ka-32A11BC’s coaxial rotors give it a crucial edge in terms of stability and manoeuvrability in the turbulent air found in fire zones, making it a high-precision tool that can fight fires with maximum efficiency.”

The Ka-32A11BC is highly configurable with more than 40 different options available to buyers, Dmitry Zuikov says. “This includes Bambi-Bucket and Simplex fire-fighting systems of various capacities, stowable lifting cabins for transportation and rescue operations, and other equipment such as water-canons for horizontal fire-fighting, which would be perfectly suited to tackling a blaze in any of Dubai’s skyscrapers, like the Burj Kalifa.”

The Ka-32A11BC proved its fire-fighting credentials in April 2012, when a blaze engulfed more than 300 meters of the 67th floor at the Federation Tower in Moscow, Russia, more than 270 meters above ground level. More than 20 fire brigades were called out to respond to the incident – the highest altitude fire in Moscow’s history – but the fire was only contained after two Ka-32As belonging to the Russian Emergencies Ministry were called into action and ferried in water from the nearby Moscow River.

Emergencies Ministry officials have repeatedly praised the Ka-32A11BC’s fire-fighting capabilities, and Russian Helicopters believes the helicopter is particularly effective for tackling blazes at altitude.

More than 70% of fires worldwide occur in towns and cities, while only 30% are wildfires. Experts say that fires in high-rise buildings pose a real problem for today’s cities, and fire brigades, rescue workers, and other emergency services all say that tackling them is a highly complex operation that requires specialised equipment – primarily helicopters – and training.

The High-Rise Aerial Firefighting & Rescue conference drew an audience of officials from big cities as well as fire-fighting and rescue experts. The capabilities of the Ka-32A11BC and other specialised Russian-built helicopters – such as the modified medium Mi-8/17 and light multirole Ansat and Ka-226T – were highly recommended.

More than 100 companies from around the world exhibited at the Dubai Helishow 2012. The show focused particularly on the potential uses of helicopters for security and rescue operations.