Until now, rescuers from the fire brigade had to swim to a drowning victim to save them, sometimes up to 200 m from the shore. And back again, together with the person. This is exhausting, and not without its dangers to the rescuer. What’s more, helping the victim can only start once they are back on dry land. The Haaglanden Safety Region felt that this should be better. They asked us to develop a solution.
Pragmatic: Fetch a wet suit
We set to work very pragmatically. Shortly after mapping the rescue process and a brainstorm session with VRH and HONOR Safety & Consultancy, the first models were made in our workshop. And then tested by us in the River Maas, right next to our building.
Clever tilting principle
Gradually, we came up with the tilting principle: by standing on the back of the raft, it tilts making it much easier to grab the victim and pull them onto the raft. And it’s not just firefighters who understand immediately how the raft works, Klaas, presenter of the TV programme 'Klaas kan Alles’ figured it out straight away.
Making a raft that is fully inflatable but at the same time solid was a real challenge. But the result is a product that can be carried in a rucksack and so deployed rapidly. The Seabob – an electric jet-ski – tows the life raft to the victim and back to land, where help can be given immediately.
The Rescue Tip-Board has won the prestigious Dutch Design Award. The jury praised both the result and the process. “The interests of all stakeholders were taken into account due to solid research into usage situations and environmental factors and thanks to the close cooperation between the parties involved.” It also won the Design to Improve Life 2015 award and was nominated for the Change in Business Award 2014.