A cross-country skier is lucky to be alive after being saved from icy waters earlier this month thanks to some newly-trained firefighters and their innovative new rescue device.

Just two hours after the St. Paul firefighting team underwent ice rescue training, they were called to the aid of someone who had fallen into the waters of McCarrons Lake in Roseville, Minnesota.

“The new firefighter who actually went in the water to effect the rescue said the training that day was the first time he had been in the water with the ice rescue suit doing those maneuvers,” Tom McDonough, St. Paul deputy fire chief of training, told Pioneer Press.

The firefighters are much more capable of successfully completing such rescue operations now that they started using the ARM-LOC: an inflatable sleeve that attaches to a drowning victim’s arm and allows rescuers to pull them to safety.

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Inventor Connie Sylvester and her family in Duluth, Minnesota, were inspired to develop the device after they saw a woman on television who was unable to be saved from icy waters because her hands were too cold to grip the rescue rope.

The ARM-LOC, however, ensures that an endangered person can be pulled to safety without having to grab hold of anything.

Discovery Channel Screenshot from the video below

The Pioneer Press says that there are now over 100 fire and sheriff’s departments around the state that are using the ARM-LOC, engineered by Sylvester’s company Water Rescue Innovations.

The cuff easily slips over the victim’s forearm and they only have to pull the ring for the sleeve to inflate and create a tight hold around the arm.

The company has further developed the cuff to be used in fire rescues.

(WATCH the demonstration video below)

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