a. Long Spine Board. The long spine board is a combination litter, body splint,
and rescue (extrication) device commonly used with casualties suspected of having
spinal or pelvic injuries. A long spine board is usually made from 3/4-inch exterior
plywood that has been sanded and varnished. The board usually measures about 18
inches in width and about 72 inches in length. Hand holes (which are also used for
straps) are cut out along each side. Two parallel runners are attached lengthwise
underneath the board. The runners permit easy sliding of the spine board and lift the
board off the ground slightly to permit easy grasping of the hand holes. The ends of the
board are rounded, beveled, and tapered to make it easier to slide the board beneath
the casualty. Accessories normally include four 6-foot straps used to secure the
casualty to the board, padding materials, and several cravats. The long spine board
can also be placed beneath a casualty if cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is
needed while the casualty is being transported on a litter. The board provides a firm
surface for performing cardiac compressions.
b. Short Spine Board. The short spine board is used to immobilize the
casualty's upper body. It is normally used when the casualty is extricated while in a
sitting position or when a long spine board cannot be used. The short spine board is a
splint and a rescue device but, unlike the long spine board, it is not a lifting device. The
short spine board is normally made of 1/2-inch exterior plywood. The board is generally
18 inches wide and about 32 to 34 inches long. It is also sanded and varnished.
Although it is a one-piece board, it has two sections--the body and the headpiece. The
headpiece is notched along its edges and normally measures 8 inches by 12 inches.
The body has strap holes cut out at each corner and measures around 18 inches by 20
inches. Accessories normally include two 6-foot straps, one cervical collar, and cravats.
c. Cravats. A cravat is a piece of folded material. Cravats are usually made
from muslin bandages, but can be made from other pliable material such as a shirt or
sheet. The steps for making cravats are summarized below.
(1) Cut or tear a square about three feet on each side from pliable material if
a muslin bandage is not available (see figure 2-3 A).
Fold the square diagonally so it is triangular in shape (see figure 2-3 A).
(3) Cut or tear along the fold to form two triangles. Each triangle, commonly
called a triangular bandage, is used to make a cravat. The longest side (the diagonal
along which you cut the material) is called the base. The corner opposite the base is
the apex (see figure 2-3 B).
(4) Fold the apex of the triangle down until the tip of the triangle touches the
base (see figure 2-3 C).
(5) Continue to fold until the cravat is the correct size, usually about two
more folds (see figures 2-3 D and E).