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The EMES: Emergency Mass Escape System
An Escape System for Skyscrapers

Because Lives are Precious!

Illustrated on an 80-Story Skyscraper
9,120 People per Minute per Slide!
19’000 in 205 seconds, under 3.5 minutes!

Retrofitting Capabilities for Existing Buildings!

“The need for a rapid EMES became evident. The main purpose of this specific system is to show its feasibility. I personally would dive right into it, enjoy the ride and be glad after it saved me. But I would still complain about being wet from head to toe and freezing on my nose and ears! It is reasonably wild - and it works. The EMES may evolve further to an elegant and super-sophisticated system, when so desired.” (Ray Gunthardt)

The Comparison: WTC: 110stories, 3.76 meters per story (13.3 ft), 2 towers with a total workforce of 50.000, 25.000 per tower, average 227 employes per story.

The Layout:
The numbers of the WTC applied to an 80 stories of 3.75 m height, occupied by 250 people per story (workforce and guests). This accumulates to 20.000 people per Tower.

The Principles:

At least one slide per Tower

  • A huge water-slide spiraling down from the 80-th story to the ground level.
  • Slide-Helix: mean radius 20 m (66 ft), a slope of 15 degrees.
  • Constant slide-speed of 32 miles per hour (52 km/h), about as fast as water-skiing.
  • Vertical drop speed: 1 story per second, 80 s total
  • Friction: a person’s weight, clothing (cotton, synthetics, silk, skin, shoes) and other variables influence the velocity.
  • Water tanks: the water is pumped from the pool into the largest tank on floor 21. This tank also fills the one on floor 41. The tanks on the floors 61 and 81 are supplied correspondingly. Each of these tanks deliver water by gravity to the 20-story section of the slide just below a particular tank for 10 minutes, even in case of a total power failure.
  • One access tube per story into the slide accelerates each person to the average speed in the main spiral, allowing to gradually “merge with the traffic”, similar to a Highway on-ramp.
  • Entry intervals: 2 persons per second per story (nominal capacity.)
  • Access: stories 5 to 80, 76 floors. (acceleration to 32 mph)
  • Slide Width: top floors: 4 m (12 ft), end: 10 m (33 ft) (8 to 10 people wide)
  • Sliding position: sitting with the feet on the slide and the elbows resting on the knees to avoid injury if people would bump into each other.
  • No high heels, backpacks, purses, laptops or other larger belongings, to avoid injuries
  • No shoes or other footwear, friction coefficients differ extensively, would cause clearly different sliding speeds
  • Wallets, keys and small items belong into the pockets
  • Banking and geometry of the slide surface: the laws of physics separate the faster sliders traveling on the outer radius from the slower on the inner radius.
  • Total evacuation time: entry: 125 s [250/(2/s)]+ slide: 80 s = 205 s = 3 min. 25 s for 19’000

And Action!

At the same instant, one person per story enters the system, a total of 76 (floors 5 to 80). This action occurs twice every second, theoretically for 125 sec. until suddenly all stories are empty.
After 80 seconds the slide has reached maximum capacity. Now let us look at one-second-segments of the slide: the 5 sec old segment (at floor 76) holds 10 people, the 76 sec old segment (floor 5) holds 152 people. There is no access at story 4 or below. A total of all persons in all these segments add to 2*2926 + 4*152=6460! The total number exiting the slide is 152 per second, or 9120 per minute! The length of a 1-second-segment is 14.44 meters or 47.4 ft. Potentially 20 rows of people, 9 people wide, would easily fit into each segment.

Click on Images to Enlarge

The Venturi-Pool: Critical Interchange

  • The sliders exit the slide just above the pool and dip in. The water flow is barely faster than the horizontal speed and direction of the fastest sliders to avoid a dangerous pile-up.
  • Soon afterwards the pool expands to over three times the initial width and depth. This reduces the speed to less than 1/9. Regardless if the sliders are just wet, injured or unconscious, the water flow transports the people right onto one of several conveyor belts.
  • The conveyors begin below the bottom surface of the pool, and pull the evacuees out of the water, move them a further away, then set them down on the grass.
  • The grass area is gently sloped away from the pool. Even disoriented people will follow the slope downwards, automatically clearing the end of the conveyor belts.
  • Paramedics main focus concentrates on those who remain near the belts.
  • The conveyors dangerous areas are blocked by strong metal screens that allow water to flow through but guide the people in the desired direction

Your feet drop, and automatically you walk away:

Really easy:


Move your feet Forward,

and walk away.

Demo: at 152 People per Second (80-story building)


A One Second segment


The Water Flow can easily be achieved by four well proven marine propulsion systems, as used in larger motorboats, that are installed indoors on the first floor under the exit slide. The two large water pipes on each side of the pool supply the propellers or jet drives with the water to generate the required flow rate in the venturi.

Medical concerns:
Dizziness: none. 8.91 revolutions in 80 sec, or 6.7 revolutions per minute, considerably below the critical level.
Radial Acceleration: almost zero.

The Psychological Fear-Factor would be considerably reduced by occasional demonstrations of the system in action. Our Serious Recommendation (this is not a joke!): Open one slide gate near the top of the building to curious and adventurous visitors!
This would serve as a safety (and fun) demonstrator...

Cost: Millions

Maintenance: marine propulsion systems, water quality and levels, filters, pumps, tanks, valves, controls, pipes and hoses

Conclusion: an EMES system does work.

Another example what we can do for New York, America and hopefully many other countries. Our work is almost as much fun as physically sliding down an EMES - and having the cappuccino afterwards!

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