Posted: Tue 25th Jul 2023

World Drowning Prevention Day: North Wales experts unveil FrED the life-saving water rescue device

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jul 25th, 2023

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With World Drowning Prevention Day today, July 25th, a group of water rescue experts from North Wales have unveiled a pioneering lifesaving device in the UK.

The team, from Ruth Lee Ltd, a global leader in rescue training aids, has been working with Bangor-based Outreach Rescue to test the Fast Rescue Device (FReD).

The 12.5kg FReD is a remotely-controlled life buoy designed to provide immediate assistance to those in distress in deep waters.

This state-of-the-art device can be deployed swiftly when an individual is too far away for a conventional throwline. Its application spans a wide range of conditions, including rapid currents and waves up to three metres high.

According to the World Health Organisation, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, contributing to 7% of all injury-related deaths, with an estimated 236,000 people dying annually.

The 2022 ‘National Drowning Report UK’ by the Royal Lifesaving Society UK underlines this concern.

It highlighted 226 drowning deaths in the UK, with 60% of these occurring inland and the majority of victims being male.

FReD was first showcased at the recent Royal Life Saving Society UK Conference in Coventry.

Sarah Hampson, Global Marketing Manager of Ruth Lee Ltd, commented on the device’s unique benefits, stating, “FReD has an industry-leading range of 800 metres and can quickly and safely carry out a rescue without risking a rescue swimmer.

It is perfect for a range of teams including lifeguards, beach lifeguards, open water swimming sites, docks and harbours as well as search and rescue teams working in open water, commercial shipping, leisure boating and cruise ships.”

Outreach Rescue’s Technical Rescue Trainer, Jess Ward, who was the first to test FReD, praised the device’s speed, controlled movement and low-risk operational mode.

She noted that “Once FReD has reached a person in trouble, it can automatically return to land using GPS positioning, can be manually directed back, or just used as a buoyancy device while awaiting rescue from trained professionals.”

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