Fire department holds trainings for water rescue device

The EMILY lifesaving device speeds across the Cinder Pond Marina Thursday. The Marquette City Fire Department conducted training sessions on the new device last week. (Journal photos by Kelsie Thompson)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette City Fire Department conducted training sessions recently for its new Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard device — a 4-foot-long remote controlled buoy that can cruise through rip currents and heavy waves at speeds of 22 mph to reach distressed swimmers.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community donated the robotic lifesaving equipment to enhance the water rescue capabilities of first responders in the Marquette area. Both the fire department and Michigan Department of Natural Resources were gifted devices.

Officers from the fire department and Marquette City Police Department participated in the trainings at the Cinder Pond Marina, as well as local lifeguards, marina staff and park service personnel.

Fire Capt. Brian Talvensaari said the device will be located at the unguarded beach near the Presque Isle Park Pavilion, near the beach flagpole. The EMILY can be used in emergency situations by trained responders.

Talvensaari said no official date has been set for placement, but said it will happen as soon as possible. While it’s still in the works, he said the device will likely also have a passcode for use by bystanders or good Samaritans, who can call central dispatch for an access code and instructions for proper use.

The DNR’s device is stationed at Little Presque Isle Point for the swimming season.

“When you realize someone is having trouble in the water, you can deploy it and provide, very rapidly, floatation for that person that is in trouble,” said Jeffery Loman, business development officer of the Great Lakes Unmanned Systems Center — a subsidiary of Aanikoosing Inc., KBIC’s economic development corporation.

Kelsie Thompson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is