A DEVICE invented by a firefighter in conjunction with a Bury business is saving lives across the globe.
The WASP, or Warning Alarm for Stability Protection, was designed by Matt Keogh, who has worked as a fire fighter for more than 30 years, and was built by Datum Group, based at Heap Bridge.
It is the result of a 15-year quest by Mr Keogh to provide protection for his fellow emergency service workers and an idea formed whilst rescuing victims of the devastating Indian Earthquake in 2001.
Mr Keogh, aged 51, who will retire from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service this summer, is a veteran of multiple UK International Search and Rescue missions.
But he steps down knowing that his colleagues in Greater Manchester and around the world will be protected by an innovative piece of kit invented by him, and created by Datum.
The WASP attaches to any surface in any position and provides early warning of vibration and/or movement – keeping rescuers safe in a variety of scenarios.
It is currently being used by fire services in Greater Manchester and by Kent, West Midlands, Germany, USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and beyond.
Mr Keogh, said: “It is a very proud moment for me to see the WASP on board Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue fire trucks.
“But we launched the Warning Alarm for Stability Protection just over six months ago and the result has been incredible.
“My colleagues at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue trialled the equipment and have used in on many live incidents and have decided to take six WASP units.
“It is hugely satisfying to think I may have been able to play a small part in protecting my colleagues long after I’ve left the service.”
The inspiration for the WASP came as Mr Keogh and the UKISAR team rescued a boy and his mother, buried for three days, from the rubble of one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit India.
The earthquake on January 26 2001, in Bhuj, Gujarat, claimed more than 20,000 lives, left 166,000 people injured and more than 600,000 homeless.
Mr Keogh added: “The problem was that the whole structure of the building had been compromised and there was always a concern that it could collapse at any time.
“I searched everywhere for something that would help to keep our team safe but it just didn’t exist.”
Mr Keogh explained the problem to Rory O’Rourke, his friend who owns the Datum Group, based at Datum House in Bridge Hall Lane, and Mr O’Rourke’s team helped turn the idea into reality.
The device will be used on an almost daily basis for firefighters tackling a variety of scenarios from collapsed structures, road traffic collisions, trench rescues, structural fires and a variety of other every day scenarios.
Most recently it was used on Tuesday when West Midlands Fire and Rescue used it to monitor Spaghetti Junction after an unexploded Second World War bomb was found.
Datum Group CEO and WASP co-founder Rory O’Rourke said: “We believe the WASP will become a part of standard operational equipment for firefighters and rescue workers.
“It is particularly pleasing to see Matt’s original idea become a reality and to see the WASP being used every day by fire brigades around the world.
“We have WASP units being used around the world and that is testimony to the hard work of the team involved but it also proves the need for this equipment.
“The WASP is a genuine world first and that is immensely satisfying.”
To learn more about the WASP visit the website at: www.wasp-rescue.com or email the team at: email@example.com