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Body Mechanics

  • The safest and most efficient way to use your body as to prevent injury.
  • Lifting and moving
    • Reposition before lifting to avoid awkward positions.
    • Keep the body stacked and straight. Avoid twists and awkward positions.
    • Keep weight as close to the body as possible.
    • Never use your back muscles to lift (Use legs, hip, and butt muscles with the abdominal muscles tensed).
  • Proper posture: stand and sit with the back straight. The ears, shoulders, and hips are in vertical alignment.
  • Kyphosis: slouch. Hunched back.
  • Lordosis: swayback. Lumbar deformation causing stomach too anterior and buttocks too posterior.

General Lifting and Moving

  • The Power Lift: use of body mechanics. With the back straight, feet apart and abs tensed, lifting is done from the waist down. A firm "power grip" is used.
  • The Power Grip: palms and fingers come in complete contact with the object (gripping, not hooking).
  • The Squat Lift: same as power lift but with one foot (the weaker foot) slightly forward.
  • One-Handed Carrying Technique: Back straight and locked. Do not lean more than necessary to balance. Use below the waist for lifting.
  • Reaching: reach no more than 15-20 inches in front of the body.
  • Pushing and Pulling: if possible, always push. Back straight, hands between waist and shoulders.

Emergency Moves

  • Characteristics of emergency moves
    • Fastest
    • No spinal stabilization
    • Performed when the scene is not safe, and there is an immediate danger to both the patient and the rescuer.
  • The Armpit-Forearm Drag: position behind the patient, reach through and under their armpits, grab their forearms, and then drag.
  • The Shirt Drag: fasten the patients' hands or wrists together, and then drag their shirt by the shoulders. Does not work for T-shirts.
  • The Blanket Drag: wrap a blanket beneath the patient, and then drag the blanket at the patient's head.

Urgent Moves

  • Characteristics of urgent moves
    • Fast
    • Spinal immobilization
    • Performed when the scene is safe, but there is an immediate threat to the patient's life. Common in car accidents.
  • Rapid Extrication: Getting a patient out of a car onto a backboard while providing constant spinal immobilization.

Nonurgent Moves

  • Characteristics of nonurgent moves: scene safe, patient stable.
  • If possible, and when in doubt, always suspect spinal injury and provide full spinal immobilization onto a backboard before moving. For example, a patient out of a car crash should always be immobilized even if he or she appears well. Use the techniques below only if there is no spinal injury.
  • Direct Ground lift: two or more rescuers lifting a patient from the side (the way you would cradle a baby).
  • Extremity Lift: two rescuers lifting the patient by the extremities. One rescuer in the armpit-forearm drag position and the other holding the patient behind the knees.
  • Direct Carry: similar to the direct ground lift, except that you carry instead of lifting because the patient is not on the ground.
  • Draw Sheet: similar to a blanket drag. The rescuers drag sideways the bedsheet beneath the patient so that both the bedsheet and the patient is moved.

Carrying Devices

  • Stretcher: a bed-like device for transportation of patients.
    • Wheeled Stretcher: a stretcher with wheels. Commonly seen in the ER, where the patient is pushed around on beds with wheels.
    • Portable Stretcher: a light stretcher without wheels.
    • Scoop Stretcher: a stretcher that can split apart to scoop up the patient on the ground from either side.
    • Basket Stretcher: a stretcher with protective guards around the circumference (like a boat).
    • Flexible Stretcher: a stretcher that is flexible and can fold.
    • Bariatric Stretcher: a stretcher that can support up to 1600 pounds. For very large patients.
  • Stair Chair: a chair with handles to carry a sitting patient.
  • Backboard: a hard board used for spinal immobilization. Equipped with hand holds and belts to fasten the patient. Can float in water.
  • Full Body Vacuum Mattress: a rigid mattress upon the application of a vacuum. Can provide surface for spinal immobilization.
  • KED (Kendrick Extrication Device): a short backboard that provides full spinal immobilization. Can be applied when the patient is in a sitting position.