within a Stokes (basket) stretcher and will float a
stretchers should be used whenever possible to
transport a seriously injured person.
If none are
available, it may be necessary for you to improvise.
Shutters, doors, boards, and even ladders may be used
as stretchers. All stretchers of this kind must be very
well padded and great care must be taken to see that the
casualty is fastened securely in place.
Sometimes a blanket may be used as a stretcher, as
shown in figure 330. The casualty is placed in the
middle of the blanket in the supine position. Three or
four people kneel on each side and roll the edges of the
blanket toward the casualty, as shown in figure 330A.
When the rolled edges are tight and large enough to
grasp securely, the casualty should be lifted and carried
as shown in figure 330B.
Stretchers may also be improvised by using two
long poles (about 7 feet long) and strong cloth (such as
a rug, a blanket, a sheet, a mattress cover, two or three
gunny sacks, or two coats). Figure 331 shows an
improvised stretcher made from two poles and a
CAUTION: Many improvised stretchers do not
give sufficient support in cases where there are
fractures or extensive wounds of the body.
should be used only when the casualty is able to stand
some sagging, bending, or twisting without serious
consequences. An example of this type of improvised
stretcher would be one made of 40 to 50 feet of rope or
1-1/2-inch firehose (fig. 332).
Spineboards are essential equipment in the
immobilization of suspected or real fractures of the
Made of fiberglass or exterior
plywood, they come in two sizes, short (18" × 32") and
long (18" × 72"), and are provided with handholds and
straps. Spineboards also have a runner on the bottom
to allow clearance to lift (fig. 333).
A short spineboard is primarily used in extrication
of sitting victims, especially in automobile wrecks
(where it would be difficult to maneuver the victim out
of position without doing additional damage to the
spine). The long board makes a firm litter, protecting
the back and neck, and providing a good surface for
Figure 329.Miller (full body) Board.
Figure 330.Blanket used as an improvised stretcher.