Jet-powered paramedics could soon be flying in to save the day

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Jet pack powered paramedics
Jet pack power may allow medics to reach patients in difficult terrain quickly. PIC: GNAAS

One of the great drawbacks of most grey nomads’ instinctive desire to explore remote country is that things can get a little bit ‘tricky’ when they get into trouble.

While emergency communication devices are brilliant for alerting authorities to a crisis wherever it may be, they don’t necessarily help with another logistical challenge … getting help to where it is needed in a timeframe where it can actually make a difference.

The flying doctor service, of course, has been a lifesaver for countless travellers who have been involved in car accidents or who have had medical incidents at Outback camping areas. However, while a plane – or an ambulance – might be able to get medical experts to the general vicinity of an incident, it can’t always provide quick access to the actual patient, particularly if they are stuck halfway up a hill on an arduous bushwalk.

The answer to this conundrum though could be on its way… and the solution might have come straight out of a Marvel comic.

A jet suit for paramedics which would see patients reached in minutes by a ‘flying’ medic has just been tested by the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) in the UK.

And the results have been described as ‘awesome’.

The test flight was carried out in England’s Lake District by Richard Browning, the founder of Gravity Industries.  The company’s suits have two mini engines on each arm and one on the back, allowing the paramedic to control movement just by moving his or her hands.

Andy Mawson, director of operations at GNAAS, said the biggest advantage of the suit is its speed.

“In a jet pack, what might have taken up to an hour to reach the patient may only take a few minutes, and that could mean the difference between life and death,” he said. “If the idea takes off, the flying paramedic will be armed with a medical kit, with strong pain relief for walkers who may have suffered fractures, and a defibrillator for those who may have suffered a heart attack.”

The jet pack has a flying range of some five to 10 minutes, is capable of moving a pilot at more than 100km/h, and of reaching heights of 4,000 metres.

Gravity Industries is now collecting data from the trial and making some alterations to the suit, but the signs are hopeful that a jet pack-powered paramedic ‘superhero’ could soon be flying in to save lives all over the world.

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you would have been happy to see a jet pack-flying paramedic? Email us here to share.
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