If the casualty is drowning, or life is endangered by fire, steam, electricity, poisonous or explosive gases, live fire in combat situations, or other hazards, rescue the person before giving emergency medical treatment.
The life of an injured person may well depend upon the manner in which he is transported. Rescue operations must be accomplished quickly, but unnecessary haste is both futile and dangerous. After rescue, and after essential emergency treatment has been given, further transportation must be accomplished in a manner that will not aggravate the casualty's injuries.
Next, we will explain the emergency methods of moving injured persons to safety, and the procedures for transporting them after emergency medical treatment has been rendered.
In an emergency, you may have to hoist, carry, or drag an injured person away from a position of danger. In some instances, you will be able to do this using a Neil Robertson stretcher, an Army litter, or by using an improvised stretcher; in other cases you will have to move the casualty by using the fireman's carry, the tied-hands crawl, the blanket drag, the pack-strap carry, the chair carry, or some type of arm carry. Sometimes, it is necessary to move the patient with all possible speed, without regard to the severity of the injuries.
The military uses a number of standard stretchers.
The following discussion will familiarize you with the most common types. Keep in mind these general rules when using a stretcher:
1. Use standard stretchers when available, but be ready to use safe alternatives.
2. When possible, bring the stretcher to the casualty.
3. Always fasten the casualty securely to the stretcher.
4. Always move the casualty FEET FIRST so the rear bearer can watch for signs of breathing difficulty.
NEIL ROBERTSON STRETCHER. - The Neil Robertson stretcher (fig. 13-19) is especially designed for removing an injured person from engine room spaces, holes, and other compartments where access hatches or ladders are too small to permit the use of a regular stretcher. This stretcher is extremely valuable aboard ship. It is made of semirigid canvas, which has wooden slats sewn inside the canvas and canvas straps
Figure 13-19. - Neil Robertson stretcher.
to secure the casualty in the stretcher. When firmly wrapped around the casualty in mummy fashion, it gives sufficient support so that the casualty may be lifted vertically. A guideline is tied to the casualty's ankles to keep them from swaying against bulkheads and hatchways while being lifted. If a Neil Robertson stretcher is not available, a piece of heavy canvas wrapped firmly around the casualty will serve somewhat the same purpose.
STOKES STRETCHER. - The Stokes stretcher is commonly used for transporting sick or injured people. The Stokes stretcher is essentially a wire basket supported by iron or aluminum rods. It is adaptable to a variety of uses, since the casualty can be held securely in place even if the stretcher is tipped or turned. The Stokes stretcher is particularly valuable for transporting injured persons to and from ships. It can be used with flotation devices to rescue injured survivors from the water. Fifteen-foot handling lines are attached to each end for shipboard use in moving the casualty. The Stokes stretcher (fig. 13-20) should be padded with three blankets: two of them should be placed lengthwise, so that one will be under each of the casualty's legs, and the third should be folded in half and placed in the upper part of the stretcher to protect 13-24