Real life rescue for innovative pole system

Portsafe apparatus on the River Great Ouse Portsafe apparatus on the River Great Ouse
Industry Database

UK manufacturer Reach and Rescue was recently delighted to report that one of its Portsafe systems was used by a police officer to rescue a member of the public.

Portsafe provides emergency services and members of the public a crucial opportunity to conduct swift and directionally-accurate rescues by giving them permanent access to effective rescue equipment that is designed to retrieve casualties in the water from safe distances.  The system therefore minimises the danger posed to the rescuer whilst also boosting casualty survival chances.

Developed in response to repeated reports of vandalism with existing water rescue systems, Portsafe securely houses a long-reach telescopic rescue pole and an emergency throwline inside vandal-proof lockable boxes that are accessible via a code granted by quoting the Portsafe’s location number to the emergency services.

“On the 3rd June 2019 Police were made aware of a person in the river, at The Embankment, Bedford. The individual was some way out in the river,” said Nick Lyall, Superintendent Head of Operations at Bedfordshire Police.  “The officer attending noticed the rescue pole, and immediately requested the pin number.  The officer hadn’t been trained to use the pole but it was easy to use.  The pole was used to reach the person in the river and bring them to the safety of the bank where they received the medical care they required.”

The installation of multiple Portsafes in locations noted as having a high-risk of accidental drowning is the result of a successful collaborative drive spearheaded by Reach and Rescue together with local emergency services including Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“We were challenged by our colleagues at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to overcome a specific list of limitations with current rescue solutions such as lifebuoys,” states Jo Taylor, director of Reach and Rescue.  “By developing rescue equipment that is tamperproof, quick to deploy and easy to use whilst keeping a rescuer’s feet on dry land, any person in trouble in the water now has the greatest chance of being rescued.”

Reach and Rescue’s telescopic pole system was recently awarded ‘Highly Commended’ status at the European Commercial Marine Industry Awards at Seawork.

By Jake Frith

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