Reach and Rescue are overjoyed to receive the Queen’s Award for Innovation for our long-reach telescopic water rescue pole – an innovation which celebrated a decade of saving lives in 2020.
Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the UK’s most prestigious accolade and recognised Royal endorsement awarded for outstanding achievement. The category of award Reach and Rescue have won is Innovation, for our long-reach telescopic water rescue pole.
The self-developed long-reach telescopic water rescue pole is the only one of its kind worldwide. It enables emergency services, search and rescue teams and members of the public to conduct swift, directionally accurate rescues by retrieving casualties from safe distances. The pole minimises the danger posed to the rescuer whilst also boosting casualty survival chances.
The pole was developed in response to UK Fire and Rescue Services’ need for effective water rescue equipment designed to keep their operatives safe. Prior to the pole’s introduction, rescuers would dive into water when attempting to save a life in danger, thereby putting themselves at extreme risk. To date, Reach and Rescue’s long-reach telescopic water rescue pole has prevented the deaths of 50+ people from life threatening situations. Testament to the pole’s success, it is currently adopted by 80% of UK Fire and Rescue Services and is supplied to over 50 countries worldwide.
Innovation Vital to Reach and Rescue’s Queen’s Award Success
“Creating innovative and bespoke rescue equipment designed to keep operatives safe is at the heart of what we do” says Reach and Rescue Director Jo Taylor MBE. “Our passion is taking an idea and transforming it via our state-of-the-art design process into a product that overcomes the real-world challenges faced by rescuers every day. That’s innovation.”
Having the spirit of innovation built-in to their DNA enables Reach and Rescue to continually produce effective solutions for their customers. For instance, the pole’s range of interchangeable attachments allows rescuers to meet the specific needs of any particular rescue situation by fixing the most appropriate tool for the job. This inherent versatility in the pole’s design serves as a platform for continuous innovation. Jo continues: “our ethos is the same today as it was a decade ago – address the needs of our customers. They’re on the frontline; they encounter new, unique and sometimes dangerous situations every day. Through open dialogue with our customers, we can address their issues and develop new solutions which ultimately alleviate the dangers they face.”
Of course, as the company continuously broadens its range, so too does the skills of its workforce. Production Manager Gavin Winstanley states: “due to the lifesaving application of our products, it’s incredibly important that our rescue poles are manufactured to the highest possible standards and quality by our skilled and talented production team.”
What Does Winning a Queen’s Award Mean for the Team?
Reach and Rescue’s Marketing Manager Stuart Glover says: “with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise being an internationally recognised accolade, the marketing potential for us is phenomenal. Moreover though, it’s the sense of pride that comes with such a grand award, essentially affirming that what you’re doing is saving lives. That’s most important.”
Kane Shaw, an apprentice in the production department echoes this sentiment: “How many apprentices out there can say that the work they do actually saves people’s lives. It’s amazing.”
Sales Managers Victoria Owen and Stacey Williams both feel the prestige offered by an internationally recognised award will prove invaluable as Reach and Rescue continues to expand its global reach. “The Royal seal of approval will undoubtably reinforce the confidence our international customers have in the quality of our rescue equipment,” says Victoria. “It provides an immense amount of confidence for our overseas distribution partners too,” adds Stacey. “Opening the door to new international markets in need of our rescue equipment has now gotten a little bit easier.”
Reach and Rescue’s innovation is readily available for the public to use as well. Their lifesaving public-access water rescue system – the Portsafe – features the pole securely stored with an emergency throwline board. Numerous systems are located at high-risk public waterways across the UK.