Choosing a stretcher for rope rescue
Firstly, only rescue stretchers designed for rope rescue should be considered as other models may not have the residual strength to support the additional loads experienced in rope access and confined space rescues.
Rescue stretchers should have convenient tie in points strong enough to support the weight of both the casualty and the stretcher attendant. Rope rescue stretchers must be durable enough to withstand impacts from debris etc without causing damage to the stretcher itself or the casualty.
Remember, once the casualty has been removed from the potential dangers of falls from height or confined spaces they will still need to be moved to a waiting ambulance, for example. For that reason alone be sure that the stretcher you purchase has at least three decent carry handles.
Only purchase rescue stretchers suitable for the task required, if your using it for rope rescue or confined space rescue get the right stretcher!
Unlike basket stretchers, flexible stretchers can be fed through small openings (silo access for example) and offer an invaluable solution to the extraction of injured persons from confined spaces.
Most flexible rescue stretchers consist of a heavy duty polyethylene plastic, when stored the plastic is rolled as a sheet to allow the stretcher to be placed in a compact case, perfect for taking into a confined space. The stretchers rigidity becomes noticeable once the casualty has been cocooned within the stretcher with the various buckles and straps that are used to hold it in place. This system allows the stretcher to have a cross-sectional area far less than itís basket counterpart.
Most flexible rescue stretchers and roll up rescue stretchers are supplied with an adaptable lifting system to allow the stretcher to be raised or lowered in either the horizontal or vertical plane. Itís worth taking a good look at your rescue stretchers lifting bridle to get familiar with its abilities and limitations.
It should also be noted that flexible rescue stretchers do not have the same rigidity as basket stretchers and additional back support may be required in the form of a back board.
Advantages and disadvantages of flexible rescue stretchers
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