Tested in Saint Zotique
Remote controlled lifebuoy can prevent drownings
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Par John Jantak, Journaliste
A new life-saving tool that can prevent injuries and drownings when a firefighter takes part in a water rescue was demonstrated at Saint Zotique beach on June 21.
During the simulation, two Saint Zotique firefighters left shore aboard zodiac boats. Firefighter Jean Latour played the role of victim and dove into the water.
The Dolphin 1, which was remotely controlled by other firefighters on land, retrieved Latour and brought him back to shore safely. It was the first demonstration of the rescue device in Quebec.
Fire department officials from Saint Zotique, Salaberry de Valleyfield and Vaudreuil-Dorion watched the rescue as it unfolded.
"I'm very impressed with what I saw. The device isn't fast, but it's strong and easy to control and operate remotely," said Michel Pitre, Director of the Saint Zotique fire department.
"It's a useful tool that can help prevent firefighter deaths like those that happened last year in Montreal and more recently in Charlevoix," he added.
The Saint Zotique fire department responds to about 10 water rescue calls each year. "There are fewer interventions during the summer because the Coast Guard is present but we take over in the fall," said Pitre.
Pitre told Neomedia he could see the potential of the $11,500 device. "It's useful. We already have a few ideas in mind about how we could use it," he said.
The Dolphin 1 is a 33-pound remote controlled lifebuoy that can carry one or more victims with a combined weight up to 500 pounds. It can also communicate with persons who are in distress.
The battery-powered device was created by Hong Kong-based OceanAlpha Group to helps firefighters and emergency crews perform water rescues.
It is described as a "self-powered electric water rescue sled steered by remote control. It's an innovative technology that bridges the gap between traditional foam buoys and jet skis, is more accurate, cheaper to deploy and safer for lifeguards."
"The Dolphin 1 has already been been purchased by several fire departments in Canada, mostly in Ontario and British Columbia. We've sold some to Hamilton and Burlington in recent weeks," said Denis Joanisse from Rossbro Engineering in Lachute.
"Today's simulation was for emergency responders but the device can also be used on beaches, oil and gas platforms, boats dedicated to marine transport, personal watercraft and on lakes, rivers, reservoirs or outfitters that are far from major centres or a fire department," said Joanisse.
For more details on the Dolphin 1, visit the company's website at https://www.dolphin-1.com/. For a no-obligation demonstration, Joanisse can be reached at (514) 917-1726.