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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Obese dummy for rescue training
Lawrence  Lee (left), and staff at Ruth Lee Fire & Rescue Equipment
The dummy will be used to train crews how to lift obese people
A 28-stone training dummy has been created to help emergency services cope with the growing number of obese people they have to rescue.

Ruth Lee Fire & Rescue Equipment from Corwen, Denbighshire, says it created the mannequin because of the demand from fire and rescue services.

It says it has already had interest from other developing countries.

The heavyweight dummy, which takes six people to lift, is believed to be the heaviest and largest in the world.

The company, which manufactures fire and rescue and resuscitation dummies, said the demand for its new product reflected the growing obesity problem.

A government-commissioned Foresight report, which is due to be published on Wednesday, is expected to claim that half the UK population could be obese within 25 years.

Lawrence Lee, a director of family-run Ruth Lee Fire & Rescue Equipment, said the 28-stone dummy had to be carefully designed with specific characteristics in place.

"It isn't possible to simply add dead weight to one of our existing dummies, as that does not accurately represent the weight distribution in a larger person," he said.

The 28-stone training dummy
Growing interest - the firm has had international inquiries

"Our aim was to achieve a 'fluidity of movement' and our top designer Sarah Hughes created a dummy that replicates, as closely as possible, the body mass of a large person, creating a realistic training tool.

"Rescuers need specific training in lifting a person of this size safely, both in terms of avoiding further damage to the casualty, and in preventing injury to the rescuers," he added.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Minister for the Economy and Transport, said the company was targeting a niche market with considerable success.

Working in conjunction with International Business Wales (IBW), the Welsh Assembly Government's overseas trade and investment arm, he said the company had seen exports rise significantly in the last three years.

"There are potentially major new markets to target and the Assembly Government, through IBW, has the expertise and knowledge to help companies like Ruth Lee Fire & Rescue Equipment tap into these markets," he said.

The company currently exports to the USA, Europe (including Germany, Scandinavia, Eire, and Portugal), Canada, Australia, and the Middle East.


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