Ken has left the building

In my experience, rescue dummies very much live a life of their own.

Take Ken, for example, my stalwart Simulaids rescue dummy of the past years.

Every time I was getting ready to go someplace, everybody around the house seemed happy to lend a hand… until lugging Ken out of the cellar into the car came into play. He had a knack of inappropriate behaviour. One time one of his hands managed to come lose just as we were manhandling him past a box full of old crockery which was due to be taken to the flea market. Well, after Ken’s passage that crockery was reduced to lots of little bits. I suppose you could have always sold it as a puzzle! With a tube of super glue…

This was also one of the things I liked about Ken: he weighed in at a realistic weight. It drives me nuts when aerial rescue demos or training sessions are run with a dummy weighing 50kg (100lbs). I mean, really?! The risk being that solutions and techniques are identified which under real circumstances, with a average weight climber plus their gear, will simply seize up or prove to be otherwise non-viable. On the downside it did make him quite a lump.

So yes, Ken and I have been through a lot together. Any number of TCCs, workshops and events…

There was also that dramatic moment during ETCC in Turin where we ran a AR scenario where the casualty was stuck on a pole on spikes, meaning poor Ken spent his weekend on spikes on a pole. Which later on turned out to be a mistake, but more of that in a moment… anyway, in Turin, just before lunch break, Ken dropped a leg, making a touch of dramatic field surgery necessary.

Thinking of rescue dummies at comps always reminds me of one of my favourite stories in this department which happened during a comp a while back, when the climber blazed up the tree, slapped in an anchor point, bombed down to the dummy, established a load-bearing connection – to then snap his anchor point! The anchor point came screaming past him and the dummy, narrowly missing them… but fear ye not! The dummy rescued the intemperate climber.

Dummy 1, climber 0 😊 And so the tables can turn!

Then there was that time when Ken joined us for the ETCC party in Monza. Come morning he had vanished. We found him again quite a fair way away in front of Mat Glenn’s tent in some weird yoga position. The less questions asked the better.

Things really started going bad when recently Ken started shedding limbs as a matter of course. In the Czech Republic workshop a couple of weeks ago he got legless. I hate to think what would have happened had someone been standing underneath as it came down…

It turned out that over the years Ken’s joints have really gone to hell. I replaced three knee joints, now both hip joints were shot, as well as the joint between pelvis and torso (don’t bother checking, you don’t have one there, this is dummy-specific). So I decided that enough was enough. Time for Ken to move on.

Roll over Ken, welcome… Don!

Unlike Ken, who is a Randy 9000, Don is a bog-standard Rescue Randy. The difference being that the Rescue Randies have a steel frame under the plastic. In theory the ball joints on the 9000s reduce the risk of pinching fingers in joints, but in practice… well, see above.

Ahh yes, the charmed life of rescue dummies!