Ken and me

As you may have gathered from my ramblings in the past, over the years a complex relationship has developed between myself and Ken, our Simulaids rescue dummy. We have been through some highs and lows together, you might say.

There is a pattern here, where the evening before I leave for an event or a workshop I will ask around the house whether someone would mind giving me hand loading up, I will get a couple of tentative yes… followed, on second thoughts, by a rather more cautious: Does it involve loading Ken?

And then if the answer to that should happen to be yes, it is a bit like being in one of those Road Runner cartoons: the rapid exit, leaving nary but a puff of dust…

Errr.. hello? Anybody…? Can someone lend a hand here…? I was only joking, no Ken this time… Sheeesh! What a bunch of lightweights.

Ken, you see, is somewhat heavy, weighing in at a good 90kg.

I believe for training purposes this is about right, the average person plus gear will probably weigh in at around this mark. I see a risk when training with unrealistically light dummies that one might be tempted to identify apparent solutions that in reality will not function with a full-weight casualty, for instance due to friction hitches binding or insufficient lifting capability. So yes, 90kg seems about right.

Having said that, it does make Ken a bit of a handful – and not what you might call easy to handle by any stretch of the imagination. I have found the easiest thing is to ratchet strap him to a spine board and manhandle him from the cellar up to the vehicle and vice versa… I have mastered this operation solo, due to the circumstances described above.

When selecting a rescue dummy, Simulaids offer a wide range of patient simulators, allowing to train for all kinds of situations, from child-size to obese dummies but also mid-size to large persons. Back when we got ours for treemagineers we got one of their standard Rescue Randys which is slightly less realistically articulated, but more robust – and a Randy 9000. That would be Ken. This dummy has more realistically articulated joints, the limbs can be individually filled with sand or water to the required weight, but it is a bit more fragile.

Quite a few people have had the pleasure of making Ken’s acquaintance during training courses or at comps, so at least I am not alone in my suffering. Take the other day: I was manhandling him back into the cellar, it was mid July, the temperatures were high, so I was barefoot – when one of Ken’s arms slipped out of the strap holding it up on his chest, it flips out and his hand tonks me right on my toes, with a vengeance. YEOOOOW!


Blinking back tears, I was sure I spotted Ken grinning in a evil fashion. Naughty Ken.

Oh, and once again, I had to replace one of Ken’s knees. He has a slightly disconcerting habit of dropping bits of his body in public. At this year’s ETCC this occurred during the post-comp climbers’ meeting… I was waffling away in front of the crowd, when behind me I heard an ominous clunk, turned round to see Ken’s lower leg lying on the ground below where he was suspended. Huh. Thanks, bud.

And this was by far the first such instance

The funny thing? Years after having bought the dummies, the UK Simulaids rep told Chris they only ever sold two Randy 9000, ours being one of them, due to being worried that they might drop limbs.

No shit, Sherlock?! This I can confirm.

I would recommend a Rescue Randy.