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One man felt the need to make saving lives in water and on ice safer. He invented the ResQ Disc and shared more amazing rescue videos.
By Hillary Andrews
Source FOX Weather

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – It was a Frisbee-like device to the rescue on Monday in San Diego when a man was pulled out of a swiftly moving river swollen by floodwater.

“One of dozens of rescues SDFD firefighters & lifeguards performed today,” the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department posted on social media. “This man was saved by Capt. Boyd’s solid throw of the save-a-life disc from Friars Rd under I-5. Nice work gentlemen!”

The Save-a-Life Disc, also known as a ResQ Disc, is a Frisbee-shaped disc with a line wound around it. The company says it is designed to fly straight and accurately in high wind.

The ResQ Disc is 12-inches in diameter and weighs 2 pounds. (ResQ Disc, Save-a-Life)

“If you can throw a Frisbee, you can save a life,” Shonna Jordan of ResQ Disc said. “It’s heavier than a Frisbee, but it’s not as heavy as a life ring, so it’s very easy to throw and deploy. A life ring can weigh anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds. Try throwing that.”

The disc is more streamlined than a life preserver, but the center is hollow, so it does float. Victims can grab on and use it like a kickboard.

Save-a-disc to the rescue during San Diego floods
Video from Monday shows a man on a raft with his belongings being carried downstream by the swollen currents of the San Diego River and needing help.

Captain Boyd is seen running down a sidewalk alongside the river with the slim orange rescue disc – a foot in diameter and only 2 pounds – in one hand.

Boyd pulls off 10 to 20 feet of line, hangs on to the end and flings the disc. The disc keeps the victim’s head and upper body above water. Boyd just pulled hand over hand until the victim was on land.

“I can tell you that those discs are on every engine and truck we have,” said San Diego Fire-Rescue Public Information Officer Monica Munoz. “Our department has been using them for about 25 years.”

Throw, don’t go – more amazing rescues
The company teaches, “Throw, don’t go (in the water).” Jordan has a video that shows why.

Some people call it a Frisbee on a rope, said Jordan.

“A person was struggling in the water. Two lifeguards went into the water, and then they themselves got caught in the rip current,” said Jordan of the rescue. “And one ResQ Disc just pulled all three of them in. So we like to say that it’ll keep the heaviest person afloat, even 500 pounds, it can pull in 500 pounds.”

The Coast Guard did testing and found crew members could deploy the disc accurately in 15 seconds into a 20-knot (23 mph) wind. If the toss is inaccurate, it can be thrown again in another 15–20 seconds.

“And can be used in ice rescues as well. We just literally got a report from the Michigan State Police two days ago that an ice rescue was completed with the assistance of a dog,” Jordan said.

The officer couldn’t throw the disc to a 65-year-old man who fell through the ice with his dog. Instead, the officer called the dog, who brought the disc to her owner. Both were rescued.

Another of Jordan’s favorite ice rescues was of two kids in Portage, Wisconsin. She said the disc is the only equipment developed for water and ice rescues.

“They were fishing, fell through the ice,” Jordan said. “And they (Portage Police) stayed on the edge and, threw it to the to the person that had fallen through the ice, hit the target. The youth put it under him and used it as a seat with the rope between his legs. They were able to get him out onto the ice and pull him back to safety without having to step on the ice.”

Why was the ‘Frisbee on a rope’ invented?
The owner of the company, Thomas Sytko, lost his adult son’s life to disease. That left him feeling helpless.

“His primary reason for inventing it is because he couldn’t save his son’s life. Even though it wasn’t to drowning, he just wanted to be able to save lives,” said Jordan.

The career mechanical engineer got the idea for the disc from his colleagues and friends in the Coast Guard.

He got the idea that we could make saving lives better, easier, and not just save the life of the person that’s struggling in the water, but save the life of the person rescuing them as well,” Jordan said.

He even consulted with a professional disc golfer to refine the design.

And Jordan said it is very easy to use. She taught small kids at a safety event to throw recently. She even taught Hollywood. After one hour of practice, the cast of “Baywatch” acted like pros, rescuing a person struggling in the water.

Jordan sends a free ResQ disc to everyone who shares a rescue story with her. Captain Boyd is next.