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Spine Boards - Selecting a Good One
When selecting good quality spine boards, there are a few things to consider. Some things to consider are runners, maintenance, and water buoyancy. Just what are the qualities for a good spine board?
One thing to consider is runners. Does it have runners? First, what are runners? When the board is laying flat on the ground, and the victim is laying on it, everything must be picked up easily by the handles. So the runners are under the backboard and the they elevate it so the fingers can go around the handles while it's laying flat on the ground. This allows the board to be picked up easily in an emergency situation, which you need and is a must. A good spine board will have the runners built in. Built in, meaning no attachments and no replacements. The runners are built in or molded into the board. And the runners will last through the lifetime of the board.
Another quality of a good board is the weight capacity. Make sure your board will handle everyone, from the smallest to the biggest person out there. The weight capacity of the board should be at least 400 to 500 lbs. This should be noted when selecting your board.
You also want your board to be maintenance free. You want a board that will be able to stay in the rain, sun or any weather condition without maintaining it or worrying about clean up. You want to be able to leave your board in the elements or anywhere because you want it close by and easily accessible in any given moment, just in case it is needed in an emergency. So the board must be able to handle rain, sun, wind, salt water, and chlorine water. You want the coating of the material to be made so that none of these elements will seep into the board and your board is looking good and ready to be used even after exposure to these elements.
Make sure your board is good for water rescue because the board may be used in a swimming pool or beach. This means you want the board to be buoyant, but not too buoyant. In case of a water emergency and the victim is in the water, the spine board must go under the victim easily. Imagine for a second that you have a victim in the water and you're trying to put a spine board under him. While in the water, you want to strap the victim on the spine board. And imagine you have an incredibly buoyant spine board. And it takes a great effort to place the board slightly under the water and under the victim. You don't want this. You want a board that will go under the water and under the victim easily. A really good board will have this capability.
Head Immobilizers - Selecting a Good One
When selecting a good quality head immobilizer, there are a few things to consider. Can the immobilizer fit in any spine board? Can it stay outside in the elements? And is it buoyant?
One very important topic to consider is if the immobilizer is universal. Can the immobilizer fit and lock in to any spine board? This is very important, as well as very practical. You want an immobilizer that will fit and assemble with any spine board. As your spine boards may change from time to time, you want your immobilizer to be able to fit in any spinal backboard. Whatever the case may be, the head immobilizer may change locations. Or new spine boards may be replaced periodically. What ever the case, you want your immobilizer to be able to fit in any spinal board.
One reason why this is so important is in an emergency situation you want to move fast. So the head immobilizer should be able to fit in any board comfortably and fast. You don't want to think about parts or assembly. You want everything to move fast. Ideally, the immobilizer will already be strapped on to the board and ready to go at all times.
A head immobilizer should also be durable and withstand the elements. The immobilizer should withstand the elements of wind, rain, chlorine water, and ocean water. Reason being, your immobilizer along with your backboard will be left outside for long periods of time. They may be left next to chlorine water and salt water. You want an immobilizer that is strong and is able to withstand these elements. There are immobilizers out there that will last year after year. It's a very good idea to get a quality immobilizer from a reputable company.
Another reason why you want a durable head immobilizer is you want to be able to put your immobilizer and board in a spot that is very easy to access without fear of the parts rotting away. Having your head immobilizer and spineboard close by is vital in any emergency situation and can save precious time.
One other quality of a good head immobilizer is its buoyancy. You want the head immobilizer to float in case it somehow drifts away in an emergency situation. This shouldn't really be a problem since most immobilizers are made from foam or an element that floats. Still it is a good idea to check the buoyancy when selecting your immobilizer.
Another good quality of the immobilizer is how it holds the stability of the head. What is the purpose if the head immobilizer? Let's remember the over all purpose is to ensure that the victim's head is not moved during transport. This is a very important quality for an immobilizer to have. As this is the whole point, to have the victims head secure and stable to prevent further injury. One thing to ensure is that the cushions on either side of the victim's check are very stable. These cushions should be locked into place, immobilizing the victim's head. This is usually accompanied by one chin strap and one head strap. These parts give added support and immobilization to the victim's head.
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