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Stretchers in the austere environment? Here is what you MUST look out for!

Our initial transport of an ill or injured person can often be critical to their outcome. Managed badly we can exasperate existing conditions and undo treatments we have already administered.   If our patient requires moving by a stretcher there can often be issues about getting a device based on traditional design into the complex environment. Trying to compromise with adapted local resources often has compromises that are often too severe for our patient.


When working in an austere environment we should consider how portable, convenient,  robust and practical our stretcher is.  A stretcher that is heavy or unnecessarily burdensome to carry or unfold my cause crucial delays on scene and slow down transportation time. In austere  situations, this can expose both the casualty and medical personnel to danger, while increasing the risk of complications from severe injuries.

If you’re seeking practical solutions to the need for casualty movement/evacuation in an austere environment, what are the key factors you should consider?

  1. Portability

When rescue personnel need to reach a casualty and  move them to a place of safety, the time we take and the efficiency of how we move are vital . It’s important to consider how portable a stretcher is, both to and from the incident scene. Cumbersome equipment may not be practical to get to the scene and it’s inappropriate use could mean crucial time is lost.

At TSG Associates, our Xtract™SR Stretcher can be folded to a compact size, making it easy to transport to the scene of an incident. Rapid to unfold, the stretcher can be deployed in seconds so the casualty can be quickly extricated from the situation.

  1. Weight

When trauma occurs, the difference between life and death often depends on initial life saving interventions alongside  mimimising the time from injury to definitive care.  A lightweight portable stretcher that doesn’t compromise on strength and patient care has a higher chance of being selected in deployed equipment.   It’s immediate availability on scene will assist in the protection of the initial life saving internventions and allow for an evacuation to progress with minimal delay.

The Xtract™SR Stretcher is one of the lightest solutions available, weighing only 1kg yet able to support up to 300kg in weight. It’s also extremely robust, designed to withstand complex evacuation in austere environments.  Our stretchers undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are appropriate to the conditions you operate in.

  1. Comfort and care

When we take the decision to move our casualty, possibly after completing lifesaving interventions, it is important we consider how we can maximise comfort and ongoing care.   Once placed into a stretcher it’s important we review;

  • How secure do they feel?
  • Are they comfortable?
  • Are they dry and warm?
  • Can we monitor them?
  • Do we have good access to continued care?

Additional consideration should be given to factors such as length of journey, obstacles to overcome and type of terrain to cross. Xtract™SR  provides many options to address the continued care of your casualty and the terrain to be covered.  

Examples of our solutions are to enable the above are;

  • The Xtract™SR Stretcher our smallest, lightest solution, ideal for dismounted operations and buddy rescue.
  • The Xtract™SR Module includes the Xtract™SR Stretcher, Xtract™SR Base and Xtract™SR XStraps, and is ideal when drag evacuations or prolonged care scenarios are anticipated.
  • The Xtract™SR Complete provides all the functionality of the Xtract™SR Module and includes the highly versatile Xtract™SR Backpack.
  1. Protection from the environment

In adverse weather conditions, it’s important to keep casualty dry and warm, to assist the management of hypothermia. Hypothermia is one element of the Lethal Triad of Trauma and can contribute to preventable death.

While many stretchers don’t offer adequate protection from the elements, the Xtract™SR Heatsaver in conjunction with XtractSR stretcher are designed to resist extremes of weather, protecting injured casualties, and maximising their chances of survival.

Innovative stretcher systems from TSG Associates

At TSG Associates, we offer stretcher systems that incorporate a range of features to facilitate rapid movement and evacuation of casualties. For more information, please contact us today on 01422 557784.


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TSG Associates LLP
Albany Works
Long Lover Lane, Pellon
Halifax, HX1 4QF