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Inflatable PFDs for emergencies

Jan 1, 2003

Certain Type I lifejackets, until recently available only as large horse-collar-like units built of closed-cell foam, are now being offered in the inflatable variety - approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Fruitland, Idaho-based company Sporting Lives, which produces the Sospenders-brand PFD, now sells two kinds of inflatable Type I PFD, one that can be worn at all times and another that can be stored aboard vessels for use in an emergency. (Also offered is an inflatable Type I children?s PFD.)

Type I PFDs allow the user to remain afloat in a head-up position even if the victim is unconscious. Two independent carbon-dioxide devices are installed in each Sospenders Type I inflatable PFD, which provide just more than 35 pounds of buoyancy. The PFDs can be either automatically or manually inflated by activation of a ripcord or by employing oral-inflation tubes.