Since summer 2019, the Björn Steiger Foundation, in cooperation with DLRG, has been setting up emergency call stations on Lake Constance on a trial basis. The trial phase was successful and now the system is being expanded. Ten further stations were positioned on June 9th, 2020 as part of a lighthouse project in the city of Konstanz, the largest city in the Lake Constance area with a length of around 34 km, and now supplemented by the Rescue System Restube automatic. The stations are clearly visible and placed close to the water. If a critical situation occurs, you can reach the rescue control center directly by the push of a button, where after the location is automatically transmitted. If it is a drowning emergency, Restube can be taken automatically from the station and be thrown to the person. The yellow buoy inflates itself when it comes into contact with water and offers quick first aid for swimmers in distress.
The dangers on and in the water are manifold and tragic accidents occur over and over again. In 2019 there were 417 drowning deaths in Germany alone, most of them in inland waters without permanent bathing supervision (source: DLRG). Anyone who notices a swimmer in distress at one of the ten locations in the future (see map appendix) can undertake self-saving measures without possibly putting themselves in danger. Restube automatic can be taken out of the SOS station with a simple handle and thrown to the injured person from a safe distance. It is important to keep sufficient distance from an accident victim, as the victim – even children – can develop enormous forces in such a situation and unintentionally pull the helper underwater. The 70 cm long Restube buoy is perfect for situations like this.
DLRG warns of fatal bathing accidents, especially this summer. Due to Corona, many indoor and outdoor pools remain closed. Instead, many people will be visiting bathing lakes and other unguarded waters. Especially in Konstanz there are many places where access to the lake is given. Unexperienced swimmers often underestimate the lake since bathing there is different than in a swimming pool. Currents, wind, waves, aquatic plants, deeper water, and no clear view of the bottom are potential sources of danger.
The first ten emergency call stations with Restube automatic have been placed in Konstanz and around the Lake since the beginning of June. In the next few years, it is planned to enable automatic security at hundreds of other bathing areas without the need of permanent bathing supervision thanks to the SOS stations and Restube automatic.
Clemens Menge, DLRG lifeguard at Lake Constance: “If a person is in an emergency situation in the water, every second counts! Therefore, it is important to provide simple means of external rescue, especially in unguarded bathing areas. The integration of Restube into the emergency call stations is an important step towards the safety of our bathers.”
How does the SOS station work?
The stations are positioned in non-continuously guarded areas close to the water and are as easily recognizable and accessible as possible for everyone. The basic function of the SOS station is that by pressing the SOS button, a direct connection to the emergency number 112 is established. You can talk to the rescue control center and describe the situation, while the location of the station is automatically transmitted. The icons on the column show the most important functions. If a person is in danger in the water, you should never go into the water without buoyancy. For this purpose, there is an inflatable Restube automatic in the station, which can be thrown to the person, or the buoy can also be transported to the place of the accident.
“Almost 50 years ago, the Björn Steiger Foundation set up the first emergency call stations on federal and state roads. We now use our decades of expertise in the emergency call area for the safety of bathers in Konstanz. The stations together with Restube form an ideal rescue unit to prevent drownings. That is why we are very happy about the cooperation with RESTUBE,” says Andreas Mihm, project manager at the Björn Steiger Foundation.
How does Restube automatic work?
Like any model from Restube, the yellow buoy from Restube automatic is compactly stored in a small bag about the size of a mobile phone. When the bag comes into contact with water, the system inflates itself within seconds using a CO2 cartridge. The person can lean over the buoy – the buoy is sufficient for any person’s height – and thus keep their airways over water. The person then has the time to gather strength and find their orientation again. Once the situation has been defused, the person often comes back to shore with the necessary calm. Or the person can wait for further help to come. The buoy can also be passed on to others.
Restube automatic is packed in a bag about the size of a mobile phone. The length of the inflated buoy is 70 cm. The buoy of approx. 7.5 kg is sufficient for any height to enable to lift the head out of the water by leaning over the buoy.
Restube is a safety product for all activities on and in the water. Restube is extremely small and robust. Simply because the best safety product is the one you always carry with you. There are different variants, which differ in detail and are thus optimally matched to the area of application. The standard versions of Restube have a trigger mechanism that activates the CO2 cartridge by a short pull and inflates the Restube buoy in seconds. Restube can be attached to a belt to the hip or directly to the equipment. Rescue professionals, athletes and families around the world trust the minimalistic but highly effective safety product. More than 40 lives have already been saved thanks to Restube.
Christopher Fuhrhop, founder of RESTUBE says: “Similar to the helmet when cycling or skiing, Restube is also being used by more and more people in the water for greater safety. What touches us most are all the “success stories” that reach us more and more when people write to us that they or their loved ones are still alive thanks to Restube. We notice that awareness of water safety is slowly but steadily growing. What is clear is that this is only the beginning. The cooperation with the Björn Steiger Foundation and the equipping of the SOS stations with Restube is an important contribution to greater safety in our waters.”
About the Björn Steiger Foundation
On the way home from the public swimming pool, eight-year-old Björn Steiger was hit by a car. It took almost an hour for the ambulance to arrive. Björn did not die because of his injuries on May 3rd, 1969, but he died from the shock. His parents Ute and Siegfried Steiger founded the Björn Steiger Foundation on July 7th, 1969 as a non-profit organisation with the aim of improving German emergency aid. Milestones of this commitment include the introduction of the nationwide uniform and free emergency numbers 110/112, the establishment of emergency telephone networks on German roads, the introduction of radios in ambulances and the establishment of air rescue operations. Current initiatives are particularly focused on the fight against cardiac death, broad-based resuscitation training, awareness-raising of children and adolescents for emergencies and the transport of premature babies. Since 2019, the Foundation has been setting up newly developed, modern emergency call stations at bathing waters and other emergency areas.