Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list here of the most frequently asked questions - if you can't find an answer here, just call us on 01490 413282 or visit our contact page to get in touch

Who are Ruth Lee Ltd?

Ruth Lee Ltd is Europe's leading manufacturer of rescue training manikins; we have been manufacturing equipment for the British emergency services for over 30 years.

How much are your training manikins?

That depends on which manikin you want and where you are in the world - your local representative will be able to give you a price inclusive of local taxes and freight costs.

How are the manikins made?

All the different models are made in exactly the same way, with an innerbody weighted with aggregate to human proportions, held inside the outer carcass. The aggregate is distributed around the body in weighted packets in such a way that slumping of the weight is prevented, allowing the dummy to maintain its form during and after use.

What materials are used in the construction of the manikins?

The three main types, Fire House(FH), Water Rescue (WR) and General Purpose (GP), all use different materials; the GP manikins (our most popular models) use heavy duty canvas, Nylon and polyurethane foam, whilst the FH models are made using Nomex. The WR manikins use P.V.C, Nylon mesh and non absorbent foam. All manikins apart from the FH models are reinforced using high density polypropylene webbing.

Why do you use stone aggregate?

The aggregate provides the weight for all the different models; it has no sharp edges, provides enough flexibility and drains well.

Can you make heavier manikins?

We could probably accommodate requests for any weight of manikin up to 100Kg; anything not from our current range would certainly be more expensive and would not have the weight screen printed on the warning label on the head.

How do Ruth Lee manikins compare with the likes of Simulaid’s Rescue Randy?

Ruth Lee training dummies are a different product from Simulaids Rescue Randy, they act more like an unconcious casualty and are more suited to most training scenarios. The Simulaids products are ideal where a more visually realistic or rigid casualty is required eg RTC training.

Why are your manikins better than the cheap sand/rag filled alternatives on the market?

For all the reasons above, while still being value for money.

Who uses your manikins?

100% of the UK Fire Services and emergency services worldwide; Ruth Lee Ltd also has contracts to supply The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) including the British Navy, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), international and local airports worldwide, hospitals and ambulance services all use our rescue manikins; they are also used widely across industry.

Where can they be used?

It never ceases to amaze us where the manikins are used, from the obvious use within the emergency services were they can be used in situations too hazardous or uncomfortable for human volunteers, to murder victims for television companies. These products are perfect for simulating rescues from height, confined spaces, static and fast flowing water or extrication from vehicles and collapsed buildings.

Is there a warranty period?

Although it is impossible for Ruth Lee Ltd to provide a warranty for these products simply because of the circumstances in which they are used, the Company will always replace any product that is defective due to faulty materials or workmanship within one year of purchase.

How do I look after my manikin?

These products are extremely robust, but care should always be taken when using them around sharp or jagged objects.

The manikins should always be hung up (using the webbing loop on the back) if they get wet.

Ruth Lee Ltd always recommends the use of the protective overalls or other protective clothing.

Not only do the overalls protect the carcass of the manikins during use, but they can be machine washed to keep the dummy clean; whilst this may not be important to Fire Services, it is certainly important when they are used in hospitals or schools etc. Should the carcass get dirty, it can simply be scrubbed clean with warm water and a mild detergent.

Do you have a risk assessment prepared for the manikins?

Yes we have a rescue training dummy risk assessment and an equipment note covering the whole dummy range.

Can we buy replacement overalls and boots?

Yes, these items can be replaced relatively cheaply. You can buy them online in our manikin accessories section

What accessories are available for the manikins?

A range of accessories are available for Ruth Lee rescue manikins: Kevlar lined leg protectors, thermal tabards and heat packs, injury armbands and weighted vests in both 10 and 20Kg weights.

Can the manikins be dropped from a height e.g. from a second story window?

Yes, these manikins will survive an accidental fall from a second floor window, but Ruth Lee Ltd would not recommend that anyone purposely do this. The manikins will of course survive a fall from height onto a recognised safety product designed for that purpose.

Can you drive over a manikin in a vehicle?

Yes, we have driven over a number of manikins in a 4wd vehicle during testing and they suffered no damage at all.

In one training exercise they were even driven over by an industrial tracked digger without sustaining damage - see the gallery on this page for photos!

Can the loop on the back be used to lift or lower the manikin?

Yes, the high density webbing loop on the back is an integral part of the manikin and will easily support the weight of the heaviest models when lifting or lowering.

Can I fit a standard safety harness to a manikin?


Can I use the thermal vest in water?


Are the heat packs used in the thermal vests re-usable, can I use my own supplier for them?

The heat packs supplied with the thermal vests are not reusable, replacement heat packs can be ordered from us although any proprietary heat packs will do.

Do you have N.A.T.O stock numbers for the manikins?

Yes, we can provide N.S.N numbers for the RL50 and RL20 general purpose manikins, we can also supply them for the water rescue man overboard model.

Each manikin page on the website has a table at the bottom which details the NATO stock number (where available) for the manikin.

Do you make a carry bag for the manikins?

Yes we now produce an excellent manikin carrying bag, they make moving the dummies far easier for two people.

How do I dry the Water Rescue Manikins?

Because the Water Rescue manikins are made from a tough Nylon mesh, water will very easily drain from the carcass; holes are also drilled in the Wellington boots to aid the process.

As with all the manikins, we recommend that they are hung up to dry using the webbing loop on the back of the carcass.

What temperature will the Fire House manikins withstand?

The Fire House Manikin will easily withstand temperatures of around 160°C at floor level (400°C at the ceiling!) for many hours and our designed for general training in and around fire houses and hot fire cell training. The new manikins are far more robust than the previous FR models and are considerably cheaper. They will of course deteriorate if placed to close to naked flames or used in excessive temperatures, just as any fire kit would!

What temperature will the general purpose manikins withstand?

General duty manikins can be used in most circumstances but they should not be exposed to temperatures in excess of 100°C; neither should they be placed in close proximity to heat sources or naked flame.

Can the Water Rescue dummies be used for diving exercises?

We have recently made some changes to the water rescue models; in the past the S & R and MO models were exactly the same apart from the colour of the overalls but now the Search & Rescue manikins are to become a completely new model - manufactured differently from the Man overboard version.

The S&R model will be more borderline when it comes to buoyancy and will only be suitable for inland/calm water. It will have 6 pieces of foam to the front overall pocket which can be removed to reduce buoyancy further. We would then introduce a 10Kg 'divers pack' that would essentially be the front of a weighted vest that clips to the dummy carcass over or under the overall. This 10Kg coupled with the reduced foam inside the dummy will quickly sink it to the bottom for diver/lifeguard training; there would be a mesh hood included in the 'divers pack' showing a printed weight of 50Kg for when the additional 10Kg is added. The only other change to the S&R model will be a mesh panel to the top of the head to allow the air to exit and the manikin to sink more quickly.

A number of our customers and distributors have asked for a manikin that floats horizontally in the water, so the MO model will now have two pockets added to the lower legs of the overall - to make the dummy float horizontally in the water you simply remove the 4 foam pieces from the front chest of the overall and add two pieces to the pocket on each leg. It will take seconds to swap between a horizontally floating manikin and the standard position. The manoverborad model is guaranteed to be unsinkable!