A day in the life of ‘Bob’ the Rescue Mannequin


My name is “Bob”, they think they’re being ironic because I’m designed to float.  I’m a really technical piece of kit, life sized and 50kg, with movable sections of polystyrene in my legs and body to allow me to float in different position, but I’m largely moaned at for being what they call a ‘dead weight’ – how rude!

Take a recent weekend for example, It was their training weekend and the idea was to set up ambulance scenarios for groups of team members to deal with.  My role started in this very inelegant way, dumped in a wheelbarrow and unceremoniously pushed across numerous bogs, some of which I fell in, up to Pinkery Pond, a small reservoir on the Chains in the middle of Exmoor.  I guess at least the view was nice.  Then I was pushed out into the middle of the lake, boy is that water cold at this time of year, and told to act unresponsive as I was to be a test for the Water team to rescue a wild swimmer who had got into difficulties.  I was rescued from this position several times, it's a good job I don't feel frost bite in my plastic hands, but goodness only knows how those ‘water rats’, (the SWRT’s nickname), got on in their dry suits swimming out to get me.  Just for variety, it can get quite tedious floating around all day, sometimes I made them rescue me from vertical onto the water scoop and sometimes I’d lie horizontally…. It's the little things that keep a rescue mannequin amused!  Give the team their due, it was a speedy recovery and done with decorum.

I thought my work was done for the day, when another training scenario was suggested.  I heard mention of tunnels and fast flowing water - Yikes!!.  So onto the floaty scoop I was strapped and three of the swift water rescue technicians guided me through the tunnel from the pond under the dam.  It was afternoon by now and the all day rain had made a torrent flow through the tiny cramped and dark channel making the task of extracting me from these difficult conditions extra testing.  Give them their due, they did it though and I will exist to live another day as a Rescue Mannequin in the life of Exmoor Search and Rescue Team.

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