Am I the only person who thought firemen still sometimes used nets?

Silly me.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3004/did-firemen-once-use-nets-to-rescue-people-from-burning-buildings

Nope.

I was reading one of those Mindset Lists from Beloit College and spied an item that “for this year’s freshmen, Pan Am Air has never existed”.

For the life of me, I didn’t realize it was gone.

Those freshman must be entering First Grade then, since Pan Am Airways closed in 2004 - of course, that was the Guilford Industriesrevival, which in and of itself was pretty odd, causing quite a few mocking entries on Railfan message boards, and even more mockery came later on when Guilford changed it’s name officially to Pan Am Systems (no airline business this time) & Pam Am Railways…

Can’t speak to the OP but if The Straight Dope ever has an official t-shirt it should should use the accompanying illustration. I love it.

In the article Cecil mentioned folks caught on the hundredth floor of the WTC, facing the choice of frying or having a chance, however small, if they jumped.

I doubt they thought they had a chance though. My guess is they jumped for the reason I would have. Dying by jumping, when you hit the pavement, would hurt, but only for a second. Staying and burning would kill you, hurt just as much, and probably last longer.

The was I fear most to die is by fire.

I had the same thought when I read that; that I doubted that they were considering any minuscule difference in odds.

They may not even have considered which was the least painful way of dying. They may have been almost instinctively and without thought fleeing from the most immediate danger.

Did anyone survive the leap from the towers? I don’t think so but I don’t remember.

There are stories of people surviving falls from incredible heights–here’s Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Alkemade

Sorry, but I still think they were acting on the most selfish and irresponsible of motives. Has anyone ever seen an authoritative accounting of how many first responders were killed by jumpers landing on them ? I’m pretty sure I read of at least a couple of instances.

The people trying to escape a burning building were selfish and irresponsible? This is a joke, right?

I found this ad for Atlas Life Nets. I didn’t find anyone selling life nets today. One Fireman BB was talking about it, and had this response why they don’t use life nets any more.

Nah. They weren’t trying to escape the building. Doubtless, they did not think they would kill any firemen, policemen or EMTs, but I believe they did. Break your neck in the stairwell if you must escape this mortal coil right now.

But you have no evidence. Just checking.

Oh I see, you were talking about suicides. I’m sorry I misunderstood you.

Google turned up at least two stories of a jumper killing someone on the ground, but both were civilians. Then again, as John W. Kennedy would tell you if he even knew I was alive, my Google isn’t the best on this board.

FDNY FF Danny Suhr was apparently killed by a falling body outside of Tower 2. (Warning: PDF). He is believed to be the first firefighter to have died on that incident.

No sane firefighter would ever blame someone for jumping from that inferno. I’ve been seared pretty good in several structure fires over the years, and when you feel the heat begin to blister your skin, rational thought starts to take leave. In the fire service, it’s a given that people trapped by fire will jump. It’s not cowardice, or selfishness. Burning people jump.

Ah. Mea culpa from myself, as well.

It’s pretty hard not to panic and render yourself incapable of rational thought. Had they kept their wits though and gone in sequence, who knows, maybe all three might have survived.

Toured the Chicago Fire Academy as a Boy Scout. They said the upper limit that you could expect to survive jumping into a net was three storeys. This informed designing exit strategies when I entered the elevator business, as in: The net won’t help.

Your name is very appropriate to this thread.