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Fireman's Safety Net

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Trampolines are usually viewed as fun places to play in the backyard. They're used for recreation, a practice ground for gymnasts, skiers, and cheerleaders, and a guaranteed submission to America's Funniest Home Videos. Sometimes, however, in both Real Life and fiction, trampolines are used for a much more serious purpose. These fall into two main categories: a character is depressed and tries to commit suicide, or a character is in peril and needs to jump to safety.

See also Interrupted Suicide and Heroic Fire Rescue. In a comic setting, can be subverted with The Not Catch.


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  • Subverted in a commercial for Glad garbage bags. A piano breaks loose from the rope used to pull it up to a third-story window. Two workers use a Glad bag to make a fireman's trampoline. The piano completely misses, it breaks into a hundred pieces, and the workers use the trash bag to deliver the pieces to the piano's owner.

    Films — Animation 
  • The clown firemen routine in Dumbo ends with the clowns catching Dumbo with a trampoline, but he falls through it and into a vat of whitewash.
  • In Monsters vs. Aliens, a trampoline is provided to catch Derek when he's dropped by the newly giant Susan. He bounces off it and hits the ground.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service has a charming use of this trope at the end of the film. After Kiki saves Tombo, firefighters rush a safety tramp below the kids as they slowly descend, just as a safety precaution considering the weight Kiki had to manage with her flight power.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 1948 documentary short Going to Blazes!, firemen are shown practicing this, with most of the trainees holding the net while one has to climb a few floors up and jump.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An Emergency! episode, "Details," had the firefighters have to use a life net to evacuate John and Roy off a burning building. The Station 51 captain noted that was the only time he's ever seen that piece of equipment used.
  • When the officers of Reno 911! have to save someone from the upper story of a burning building, they grab a trampoline for the person to land on. Needless to say, it doesn't go to plan.

    Music Videos 
  • In the Rammstein Music Video for "Benzin", the other band members (as firefighters) try saving Flake as he jumps off a building, using a trampoline. It rips.

    Video Games 
  • The main premise of the Nintendo Game & Watch game Fire was to save people jumping out of a flaming building into a waiting ambulance with a trampoline.
    • In Super Smash Bros., this is Mr. Game and Watch's recovery move. Starting in Brawl, the move is followed by a parachute from Parachute.
  • At the beginning of Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!, Larry jumps into one of these to escape a burning condo. He bounces out and ricochets around the scene before finally ending up on a cactus.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has an event where you need to maneuver a straw-filled truck under a suicidal rapper to break his fall. An infamous bug led to Unintentionally Unwinnable where he jumps before you can get to him.
  • In the online game Save Me, the player controls two firemen holding a net between them as they catch people, animals, and furniture falling from the windows of a burning apartment building.

    Western Animation 
  • In Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin improvises one of these using his jacket to help Roo jump down from a tree. Tigger, on the other hand, is unwilling to use it.
  • Used by Screwy Squirrel in one of his cartoons. At the last second he pulls it away, because that's just the way he is.
  • Phineas and Ferb, "One Good Scare Ought to Do It!": The Fireside Girls save Phineas in this manner with an improvised trampoline made from their sashes when he falls out of the haunted house being lifted into the air.
  • The Simpsons: In "Homer the Heretic", Ned throws Homer from the second-story window of a burning building onto a mattress. When Homer lands, the mattress bounces him back into the house through the ground floor window.
  • In Rocky and Bullwinkle. Boris Badenov persuades Bullwinkle to jump into a firemen's net (twice!) as a publicity stunt. The second time, the net is lying on the ground with no one holding it.
  • One episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show involved the two working at a fire station. They end up manning the trampoline; Ren ends up getting crushed by everyone who jumps.
  • This comes into play in The Smurfs (1981) episode "Skyscraper Smurfs", when the Smurfs have to jump out of the burning smurfominium and Papa Smurf with a few other Smurfs come to their rescue.
  • In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop episode "The Terrible Trolley Trap", Pockets produces a trampoline for the mob to hold over the ship's smokestack in hope of catching Penelope. They catch the streetcar instead, and end up falling into the smokestack.

    Real Life 
  • Life nets used to be standard equipment for fire rescues with a usual upper jump height limit of six storeys, although eight storey jumps have been noted. However, the life net was phased out by the 1980s since it was too dangerous with a real risk of jumpers landing on the hard rim or a firefighter holding it up or worse, missing the net altogether. Today, aerial apparatus fire trucks are used instead since they enable firefighters to simply reach up to victims to get them down.


Video Example(s):


Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!

A team of firemen attempts to catch Larry by using a safety net. It ultimately ends up bouncing him somewhere else.

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