Evacuation Chairs And Stretchers – The Different Types Explained

When you are in an emergency, and if all else fails even a door taken off its hinges can serve as a stretcher. However, there are a wide range of stretchers on the market, each designed to accomplish a specific task and feature when it comes to taking victims out of dangerous, accident situations.

Litter – is the most basic of stretchers and comprises two poles with a canvas support attached between. These were the earliest form of stretchers employed and are still in use today, their advantage being their convenience where storage is concerned.

Collapsible Stretcher – the most commonly used form of stretcher, especially in places where storage space is at a premium. Collapsible stretchers come with restraining straps, legs and wheels, which makes moving around easier. These are a popular piece of equipment with Army Medical Units.

Sked Stretcher – the sturdy, rigid sled makes this kind of stretcher useful in extracting victims from confined spaces, aerial evacuation and when it is necessary to cross rough terrain.

Basket Stretcher – used mainly when a casualty is suffering from back or spinal injuries and commonly employed for raising or lowering patients safely, for instance into helicopters or out of shafts. These are versatile stretchers that come in a number of different designs depending on the environment where they are deployed. They can include supporting backboards and come in break apart designs if long, arduous cross-country travel is necessary.

Roller Stretcher – normally used for ease of transport from the danger zone into the ambulance and into the hospital. Wheels make manoeuvrability easier and quicker on flat surfaces. A roller stretcher also can be designed with foldable backrests for patient comfort.

Scoop Stretcher – most commonly found in incidents involving spinal or neck injuries and often seen on the sports field where a patient may be unconscious or their condition uncertain. Its ability to separate into two halves means that patients can be moved more easily in the position they were found, so minimising additional damage.

Evacuation Chair – this form of stretcher allows the patient to sit whilst being moved and is most frequently used where rescue services need to negotiate stairs, aircraft interiors or narrow corridors.

Most of the various stretchers listed above can also be fitted with securing straps or webbing to immobilise the patient or anchor points to allow ropes to be attached for hoisting. In certain circumstances inflation bladders can be included for water environments and additional heating devices when rescuing in freezing conditions.