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Ventura County Scout creates rescue mannequins from old fire hose

Rescue mannequins made from fire hose by a Ventura Scout, have been provided to Ventura County Fire Dept for training
Ventura County Fire Department
Rescue mannequins made from fire hose by a Ventura Scout, have been provided to Ventura County Fire Dept for training

They allow firefighters to train for dangerous operations without putting a real person at risk and a 15-year-old Ventura County Boy Scout has come up with an innovative way to create rescue mannequins…out of old fire hose!

A Ventura County Firefighter wearing breathing apparatus is carrying Cosmo out of a smoky burning building. Cosmo is about 90 lbs, has two arms, two legs…and is a rescue mannequin made out of old firehose. This is a training exercise and Cosmo is one of 13 mannequins built by a 15-year-old Ventura County Boy Scout.

"These mannequins will give us the ability to train in multiple different rescue scenarios, everything from the typical structure fire, so that we can put these in the building and the firefighters can go in in zero visibility conditions, even high heat conditions, because we have to worry about damaging them and they can go in and do a rescue as if it was a structure fire. But they can also use it for other things like traffic accidents. We can overturn vehicles on top of the mannequins. We can use it for trench rescue. We can use it for over the side where we put the mannequin over the side of a cliff, and they'll set up rope systems and rescue the mannequin that way. There's no limit to what we can use these for any situation. We have to rescue another human we can put these mannequins in," explains Scott Quirarte, who is responsible for the training at the Ventura County Fire Department’s facility here in Camarillo.

He says using discarded firehose for the mannequins is not only a great opportunity to repurpose the hose, but to save thousands of dollars.

"The use of fire hose in this way as mannequins, is probably as old as time, as old as fire hose has been around, and a lot of times the way they're made, they're a little too easy to rescue. So these ones have been made much more solid," he said.

"They actually have joints, so they have arm and leg joints, which for real people, that's what makes it difficult to carry people, is that we're very loose and flexible and bendy. And so he actually made them so that they have arms and legs, it bend and it has a head so that we have to be careful of where that head is. And then a torso. And they're all different sizes and shapes, everything from 60 pounds to 150 pounds," said Quirarte.

The mannequins’ creator Caleb Rosa made the mannequins in his bid to reach prestigious Eagle Scout status and he said it's exciting to see his mannequins being used in action.

"That was super exciting seeing all that work that myself and my dad and all the other scouts who worked with me put into that being used in training was super exciting, so it felt really good today," said Rosa.

His Scout Master also happens to be his father, Chris Rosa.

"I think that was the highlight of Caleb's day today, was being able to see all of his work kind of come to fruition, in that the firefighters are actually using them in training and benefiting from them in a what would essentially be a structure fire for training," he said.

As well as creating the mannequins, Caleb has ensured that more can be made for years to come by also creating an instruction manual - which he laminated to make it – in their words – firefighter proof.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 5 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.