|In certain extreme circumstances it may be necessary to transport a person who is sick or injured to a place of safety. Should you find yourself in such a situation, there are a number of techniques whereby stretcher can be quickly improvised.
METHOD1: BRANCH AND CLOTHING
- Select two strong branches that will extend by about 1 foot either end of the person to be carried. Ensure that the branch is tested for rot and that any sharp parts are cut away. It is also worth checking for moss at each end as this will make any grip slippery. Although the branches do not have to be exactly the same size, it will obviously help if they are roughly the same length. It is vital that they are capable of holding the weight of the victim.
- Now select some clothing that is strong since this will bear the weight of the victim. Items made of denim and good quality cotton T-shirts are ideal. You should not forget yourself—do not give away clothing that may mean you are at risk from the weather.
- Slide the clothing on to the poles with the poles coming through the arms of the garment. Place the next piece of clothing on to the poles in the same way and overlap the first item. Place enough pieces of clothing on to the poles to ensure that the victim’s head and legs will be supported.
You could use this kind of system using a large plastic survival bag instead of clothing. These can be purchased inexpensively from most camping and outdoor shops. Instead of sliding clothing over the poles, holes are made in each corner of the sealed end of the bag large enough for the poles to be fed through, ensuring that the bag will not split once any weight is placed on it.
METHOD2: CARRYING A SURVIVAL BAG
If you do not have a survival bag handy, the flysheet of a tent will do instead. However, bear in mind that rocks and stones may damage the fabric.
- It is possible to use the survival bag as a stretcher without damaging it. Lay the bag out and, depending on how many people you have to help with the carry, collect stones large enough for each person to grip. Next, using string or rope, tie the stones at each corner of the bag and at each side in the middle. If stones are not available, items of clothing such as hats, socks or gloves can be used in place.
- There are definite limitations to this kind of stretcher. The polythene is relatively easy to split, especially on rough ground, and when wet can be extremely slippery. Therefore care should be taken when picking the stretcher up and you should always take things slowly.