The Nebulus Emergency Flotation device was the brainchild of John Weinel, the founder and President of JTW Associates LLC. In 1993, a young snowmobiler broke through the ice on a lake across the street from Weinel’s home. Due to the thin, unsafe condition of the ice, rescuers were unable to get out to the snowmobiler in time and he drowned. The event disturbed Weinel and he began to envision a compact safety device that could be deployed immediately by a first responder in an ice rescue situation.
Weinel worked with the University of Minnesota Mechanical Engineering department to develop, test and refine his product, which became the Nebulus Emergency Flotation device. During the development process, a pilot approached Weinel and asked him to develop a flotation device for powered parachutes, a type of ultralight aircraft. In 2003, JTW Associates introduced the first Nebulus products: The Nebulus Emergency Flotation Device and the Nebulus for Powered Parachutes.
Since then, those initial designs have been refined to ensure that every Nebulus device meets the evolving needs of first responders and emergency personnel. At the moment there are more than 1,400 Nebulus Emergency Flotation Devices in fire departments, police departments, sheriff’s departments, park rangers, border patrol, ice/water rescue units and many other types of departments across North America, covering 28 states.