If you’ve watched many action movies, you’re likely to have seen an instance where someone is falling from a building and then gets caught by the person on the ground. So, can you catch someone falling from a building?
Yes, you can catch a person falling from a building. Steady yourself, bend your knees slightly, stretch your arms out and be ready for the weight. Even then, it’s not advisable unless it’s a baby or there’s a crowd to catch one person. It’s best to use materials like mattresses, net, airbags, etc.
Falling is dangerous regardless of the height, and it’s possible to have a fatal injury from as low as 10 feet while also surviving a fall from 30 feet. There are many variables involved, but the most important is the speed at which a person falls. Here, we discuss whether you can catch someone falling from a building and if it’s advisable to do so.
How to Catch a Person Falling from A Building
You can catch a person falling from a building. But you have to do this with caution as catching a falling person could result in injury or worse for you. It helps if there are several people, in which case, you can divide the weight, making sure that the impact of the fall doesn’t exceed what one person can bear.
Whatever the case might be, you’ll have to react quickly, spread your legs slightly while maintaining a firm footing, and bend your knees slightly. You should keep your arms at shoulder length with the palms facing up and be ready for the impact of the weight. A falling person can weigh about ten times their actual weight, so be ready for that.
When catching a falling person, focus on protecting their head from hitting a hard surface, and you should bend your knees immediately upon impact to absorb the weight from the fall.
The goal is always to slow down the speed of the falling person, so they don’t hit the ground at the same pace they’re falling. Of course, this is far easier to do with a crowd than just one person. Once they’re on the ground, check if they’re injured or conscious and make them lie on the ground while you call for assistance.
Is It Advisable to Catch A Person Falling From A Building?
You shouldn’t try to catch a person falling from a building, especially if they are adults and falling from a very tall building. While there have been a few freak instances someone has tried it and survived, it’s very risky nonetheless.
Trying to catch someone falling from a building could result in death or serious injury to the person falling and the person trying to catch. But one person can catch a baby falling from a building since the baby’s weight would be much lesser than that of a grown person even with the velocity.
However, if someone is falling from the building, and you need to catch them, the best thing to use would be something that’ll reduce the velocity of the drop, ensuring that the person doesn’t hit the hard surface. It’s a common saying that it’s not the fall that kills; it’s the sudden stop at the end.
This is very true in most cases, as the impact of the falling person against the surface is what leads to serious injury or death. This is why firefighters and emergency responders usually use materials that could cushion the fall, such as life nets, trampolines, mattresses, airbags, etc. These materials can prevent or limit the deceleration injury that usually occurs upon the impact of a falling person on a hard surface.
With these materials, it might be possible to prevent a person falling from a building from suffering any fatal injury. But some of these materials will require more than one person to hold them and must be strong enough such that when the falling person crashes into them, it doesn’t rip apart. This explains why there are usually about eight people holding the safety net for catching people falling from buildings.
What Height Can a Person Survive a Fall
There’s no specific minimum for when a fall can become deadly. A fall of as low as six feet can be deadly, but the higher the fall, the lower the chance of survival. At best, the chance of survival when falling from a 4th floor is around 48 feet is 50%, but it’s 10% for a person falling from the 7th floor, which is about 84 feet. Most times, what causes death from falling is damage to the spine, and one can damage the spine by simply falling from a height of about 10 feet.
There’s no specific height from which falling will lead to certain death. It depends on a lot of factors. There was the instance of US Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger, who rode a helium balloon to 102,800 feet on August 16, 1960.
He was able to survive the fall from that height which took about four and half minutes due to his special clothing and the fact that he had a parachute that slowed his speed, allowing him to land without any permanent injury.
What determines the chances of survival the most is the speed at which a person falls. The faster the speed, the heavier the person is, which means the harder the impact of a sudden stop would be. For example, a body traveling at 100 km/h will weigh over 3,700 times more than its actual weight. So if that body should suddenly stop, there could be massive internal bleeding resulting from cells bursting due to that sudden deceleration.
The surface and age of the person falling will usually determine the chances of survival. For example, falling on snow or tilled soil has a lower fatality rate even if it’s from a high place than falling on concrete or rebar from a lower height. Children under the age of 15 and adults above 65 are also the most likely to suffer fatal or serious injuries due to falling.
About 500,000 people die worldwide annually from falling. This shows just how dangerous falling can be. While you might feel like catching a person falling in a bid to save them, it’s not always the best thing to do and can result in serious or fatal injury for you.