Once heralded as the time-saving successor to stairs, the fire pole is, after 150 years, sliding toward extinction. In its heyday, the pole revolutionized the way firefighters responded to alarms, accessed their trucks, and, ultimately, saved lives. But fire poles came — and still come — with a caveat: they have the potential to be lethal for those who descend them.
As a kid, I always thought it would be cool to have a house with a Fireman’s Pole in it to get downstairs. After reading this article, not so much. I had no idea they were so dangerous.