N.H. Company Introduces AIR Responder For Water, Ice Rescues

After seeing media accounts of rescue personnel walking gingerly on, or often sprawled across icy bodies of water to get to a victim, the founders of WISE Technology of Gilford, New Hampshire thought, “There has to be a better way!” After years of...


After seeing media accounts of rescue personnel walking gingerly on, or often sprawled across icy bodies of water to get to a victim, the founders of WISE Technology of Gilford, New Hampshire thought, “There has to be a better way!”

After years of study and prototypes the Amphibious Ice Rescue Responder was born. Known simply as the AIR Responder, this device utilizes the power and speed of a snowmobile to propel it across a wide variety of ice, snow and open water at speeds up to 35 mph without fear of flipping or sinking, due to its wide, buoyant design.

Less Time and Manpower

In recent tests with a number of fire departments, the AIR Responder was able to get to an accident victim in less time than it took rescuers to inflate and deploy their inflatable rescue device.

A distance that took the department 35 minutes round trip, took the AIR Responder only six minutes. That’s almost a half hour less. It can take as little as 15 minutes for Hypothermia to set in; so this could make the difference between a rescue and a recovery.

Not only does the AIR Responder save time, but it also saves on man-hours and physical demands of emergency personnel. Current ice rescue measures require trudging across ice and snow in heavy water-proof suits while dragging a rescue device.

Already fatigued from pulling the victim from the icy water, rescuers have the added weight of the victim’s water-soaked body to make the return trip even more draining. The toll is so great that upon reaching shore, this team must be relieved from duty while others step in to care for the victim.

According to Chief Ken Erickson of the Laconia Fire Department in Laconia, New Hampshire, “Normally, after an ice rescue of this kind our rescuers are taken directly to the hospital to be treated for dehydration and exposure, but with the AIR Responder this isn’t necessary. We need less manpower on hand and the rescuers aren’t taxed to the point of needing medical attention themselves. The cost savings from this alone are significant."

With today’s methods, there is a real risk of rescuers falling through unstable areas of ice which are often masked by snow. When this happens, it creates a second rescue mission. Because of this risk, it’s not unusual to have two men on shore for every one on the ice.

The AIR Responder eliminates this concern. Kevin Pierce, Paramedic/Fire Fighter with the Laconia Fire Department in Laconia, New Hampshire reports, “The buoyancy of the AIR Responder results in much less hazard and physical danger. That reduces the amount of manpower required on standby”.

Faster Deployment Because Every Second Counts

The team at WISE Technology went so far as to create a specially-designed trailer featuring a custom tilt-and-rotate design. The AIR Responder can be driven directly off the trailer into water or onto ice or snow.

This unique device allows the machine to be driven back onto the trailer and quickly rotated back to the rear-facing position for expedient deployment at the next mission.

Franklin Fire Department Captain Jason Jenkins of Franklin, NH, was very impressed, “Due to the rapid deployment of the AIR Responder, rescuers can reach victims in less time than it currently takes us to inflate our boat.”

Multipurpose and Versatile

With its low center of gravity and patent pending hull, WISE Technology has created a truly unique device designed specifically for ice rescue, with the capacity to function in a number of other situations.

This content continues onto the next page...