Mountain Rescue Magazine Winter 2021

from the Archive

A short history of stretchers: Part 4 Influences from abroad...


Besides the creation of his own, now iconic, Bell stretcher, by the end of Part 3, Peter Bell had considered the many and varied efforts from across England, Wales and Scotland to develop stretchers specific to local needs. Elsewhere in the world, other ideas were being tried and tested in the mountain environment.

THE TYROMONT STRETCHER The Tyromont mountain stretcher was also designed for transport of injured persons across all kinds of terrain, for roping up or down, dragging over rock or ice, carrying and riding on the single wheel — wherever a good protection of the injured and a rugged device are required. Today’s model, less than 14kg in weight, is divisible into three loads of approx 4.5kg. The frame is manufactured from lightweight, high precision steel tubing with a red powder-coated frame. The circle-sector shaped frame design enables easy handling in all kind of terrain and the flat lying area for the injured is totally protected from side impacts by a rail that surrounds the whole stretcher — which also serves as a grip, allowing rescuers to hold the stretcher at any position. The two base runners are shaped in a circle-sector and retracted to the centre to provide more space for the legs of the rescuer when roping up or down steep rock. The Tyromont Universal (UT2000) can be divided into two halves, each weighing 3.5kg, for transport on the back of two rescuers. Each half can also be used as load-carrying frame. The tubular frame is made from high strength Alumi-num-alloy and the durable plastic lying area is shock and scratch resistant. The stretcher features a wide, padded shoulder belt, detachable carrying belts for helicopter transport, and four multi-

functional load-bearing belts for securing the casualty in place. The weight of the complete stretcher is 6.6kg with a load- carrying capacity of 2000kg. PIGUILLEM STRETCHER The ‘Perche Piguillem’, adapted as it is to winch rescue, is the most frequently used stretcher by the rescuers of the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute-Montagneby in the mountains of the Mont-Blanc Massif. It is from this design that the Alphin stretcher evolved. Saveur Piguillem was an alpine guide and, for almost 20 years until 1971, instructor of the French Police Alpinism Centre. Until 1986, he was head of mountain rescue in Grenoble, Val d’Isere and Chamonix. Thanks to his extensive experience and knowledge of the mountains, Piguillem created and built a variety of rescue equipment, including the stretcher which took his name, a walls winch, a tow for the evacuation of skiers and a tow for use with avalanche dogs. The Piguillem is carried like a backpack to the scene of the incident. WASTL MARINER Sebastian ‘Wastl’ Mariner (1909–1989) was an Austrian alpinist and a pioneer of mountain rescue in Austria, famous for the development of a wide variety of equipment intended for use in helping injured climbers. His ‘mountain carrier’ or ‘one wheel litter’ is

FROM EUROPE Mountain rescue conferences were, by the 1980s, enabling the exchange of ideas and experience to a much greater extent than ever before. At one of these, in 1983 at Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, in Scotland, there was a display to illustrate some of the design concepts originating in Europe. These stretchers were rarely seen and hardly ever used in Britain. Nevertheless, this display had a marked influence over some of the stretcher designs that later developed in Britain.



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