“ResQmax” Launcher Assists In Lake Michigan Water Rescues

Posted at 9:02 PM, Jun 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-26 00:10:40-04

ResQmaxBERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (June 25, 2014) — Officer Rob Hahn of the Chickaming Township Police Department was the first to respond to a call of two swimmers in trouble on Lake Michigan last week.

“What I was worried about was them going into hypothermia,” he says. “The water was still really cold.”

That’s when Hahn busted out the department’s newest rescue tool: the ResQmax.

It looks like something out of a video game – a shoulder-mounted launcher that uses air-thrust technology to propel a self-inflating life jacket-type device  attached to a rope up to 300 feet out into the water.

A report from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says drownings in Lake Michigan are up as much as 50 percent from last summer.

Now the ResQmax is changing the way on-land crews can help in a water emergency.

“It makes a huge difference,” Hahn says. “It allows us to respond quicker and actually be able to do something on the beach instead of just standing there – feeling helpless.”launcher3

Chickaming Township believes they’re the first town in Berrien County to get the launchers.

They have four of them – two for police, two for the fire department.