The Haaglanden Safety Region challenged Spark Design & Innovation, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, with finding a solution guaranteeing the Dutch fire service a raft that would allow a safe water rescue up to 650 feet from shore. Spark went to work, developing the Rescue TIP-Board® inflatable safety raft with unique properties that allow Dutch fire teams to ease a water rescue victim onboard without risking a raft collapse or turnover.
The raft features a flat bottom and two inflated arms in the back. The rescuer tips the back of the raft and slides the victim into the raft, using the arms to leverage the wet weight. As the victim is moved to the front, it re-balances and can be pulled or motored ashore. The raft consists of two main parts: an inflatable tube of Orca® 828 high-tenacity engineered polyester fabric (manufactured by CSM Fabrics) coated with Hypalon® chlorosulfonated polyethylene (made by DuPont Performance Elastomers LLC); and a Hypalon drop stitch board with a double layer of material with fibers sandwiched in between to allow for both stiffness and inflatability. HONOR Safety & Consultancy, a Dutch manufacturer of safety equipment, played an advisory role in development of the raft, and the Haaglanden Fire Service tested the prototypes.