Northwest Fire welcomes E.M.I.L.Y to rescue team

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Northwest Fire welcomes E.M.I.L.Y to rescue team

CREATED Jun 16, 2012 - UPDATED: Jun 18, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The official start of monsoon season means firefighters will be busier with more swift water rescues, but this summer Northwest Fire has added a new tool to save people from fast moving water.

Her name is EMILY. She's faster, lighter and can rescue up to six people at a time.

"EMILY is Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard," said Northwest Fire engineer Gibran Merry. "It's a remote controlled boat with a buoy on it."

EMILY joined the Northwest Fire team just a few weeks ago. She comes with a lot of perks. The little robot can travel up to 40 miles per hour in rough currents. She only weighs 25 pounds and can be a flotation device for up to six people. Best of all it's remote controlled, so there's no need to hop in the water.

"It allows us to access our patient faster without putting anyone in danger," said Merry.

EMILY can get you faster than a real live swimmer. It was developed in California and tested in rip currents in the Pacific Ocean. Northwest Fire says it will be a handy tool this monsoon season.

"We're going to have to practice with the device and get familiar with it," he said. "We'll develop rescue plans so when it's put into service we use it efficiently."

Green Valley Fire also has an EMILY for use by their technical rescue team.