Monday, July 24, 2000

Milford offers water-rescue device to public

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MILFORD — The city fire department has become the first local unit to offer to the public — at cost — a Frisbee-like water-rescue device.

        The goal: Save lives.

        The reason: Milford firefighter Jim Nickell, who spearheaded the effort, remembers well each water recovery of a dead body, and the terror he saw in the eyes of two near-drowning victims rescued from the Little Miami River a few years ago.

        The results: In the first week, the department has sold 12 of the 36 Res-Q-Discs it bought for $20. They are available to all members of the public, regardless of where they live.

        The fluorescent orange disc is slightly larger and heavier than a Frisbee and is attached to a 100-foot-long rope. It can be used from a water craft or from the water's edge and is much easier to control than a life ring, Mr. Nickell said.

        “You can throw it like a Frisbee, with ease, and then a drowning person can easily grab it,” he explained. “You can't throw a life-preserver doughnut 100 feet.”

        Some local departments use disc-like rescue devices but haven't made them available to the public. Members of the Milford Community Firefighters Club funded the purchase from Las Vegas-based Save-A-Life, with an eye toward boaters and residents with pools. The Res-Q- Disc normally sells for $39.95.

        Milford fire/emergency medical services previously threw a “rescue bag” to people in distress in the water. But it was harder to control the throw than the disc, and its rope was only 50 feet long.

        Anyone interested in buying a Res-Q-Disc, or wanting more information about them, can call Mr. Nickell at the Milford Fire Department, (513) 831-7777.


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