Inflatable Sled To The Rescue

Snow is fun but it ain’t no joke. If you suddenly take injury or fall ill, it becomes a nightmare obstacle for both you and rescuers. The Firun is an inflatable rescue carriage light enough to wear as a backpack. Using an inflated solution provides cushioning and makes it a lot easier to drag. I know it’s kind of tasteless to say this but I imagine a pack of dogs pulling me, MUSH!

Designer: Janine Züst


  • Summit says:

    This is a poor design:

    1. That thing looks like it is more of stretcher/sled than a litter/sled because its inflatable. Without getting too into the differences between a litter and a stretcher, suffice to say that this device is likely useless for anyone with orthopedic injuries at or above the knee/’elbow without contructing (or bringing along) at least a short spinal immobalization board or even a long board. Additionally, you aren’t going to use a stretcher or an inflatable in a high angle rescue.

    2. What is the durability of that inflatable when dragging it over pointy rocks, ice, and branches? That certainly isn’t worthy to be dragged behind a snowmobile, used in mixed terrain, used on high angle snow, for long distances over rough snow, or in areas where you may run out of snow.

    3. How are you going to inflate that thing up reliably and easily?

    4. Reinflation will be required repeatedly during the rescue as you descend (atomspheric pressure increases) and as the air in the sled cools (decreases internal pressure). (Which is why we prefer vacuum or rigid splints for mountain rescue instead of air splints).

    5. That backpack doesn’t look like it has room for anything else in it like camping gear, food, water, climbing gear, avalanche gear, etc that the carrier needs out in the snow. Ergo, it doesn’t seem like something that is meant to be brought along on expeditions and is therefor a tool for organized rescue (mountain search and rescue).

    6. Since device doesn’t appear to be something that’s going to brought along on a regular basis, so why is organized rescue going to choose this option over more durable, reliable, and versatile sled?

    What we have is a device of questionable reliability that can only be used in certain environments for certain patients. I can’t think of very many if any instances where this device is the best for that job. It might be useful for expeditions to other lands where your team is on its own for rescue… but is the inflatable really going to cover the contingencies one needs to prepare for?

    • mofo says:

      get a life… you are so boring buddy.

    • Flat Lander says:

      I think Summit may have missed the point. Where does it mention mountain rescue in the description. For a Nordic (cross country skiing) area this might be a useful option.

      1. The inflatable sled obviously cannot be used for spinal immobilization with out a backboard or similar device, but neither can a cascade toboggan or most improvised sleds. The vast majority of Nordic injuries are unlikely to require spinal immobilization. In the event of leg injury at or below the knee the traditional ski pole splint could be used. Additionally the insulation from the ground provided by the air cushion would likely be beneficial in keeping the patient warm and preventing hypothermia which is a real concern given the lightweight clothing worn by most Nordic skiers.

      As for high angle rescue it is not mentioned any where in the design description. The complaint is like saying Jello makes a lousy roast beef sandwich.

      2. Inflatable devices can be made very durable an example would be the Zodiac line of inflatable boats. In addition in areas where this inflatable sled would make sense lack of snow cover is unlikely to be a problem. When the snow disappears the Nordic areas close and sticks rocks and branches are not likely to exist on the set track. Whether the device can be towed behind a snowmobile is debatable. However most Nordic areas want to avoid having a snowmobile traveling the set trails while the trails are being used skiers for safety reasons. The light weight of the inflatable and it ability to be worn as a back pack makes delivering it to the scene and towing the patient out by skier much more viable. In the event of a life threatening injury or a spinal issue a snowmobile would likely be dispatched with a hard shell toboggan containing a spinal immobilization device and a trauma pack.

      3. With a pump similar to the one you use to suck the air out of the vacuum mattress and other vacuum splints.

      4. Re-inflation is not an issue in Nordic areas where there are generally minimal elevation changes with skiers traveling a fairly flat track.

      5. The pack can be stored at the day lodge and delivered by a Nordic patroller to the scene. None of the gear specified in your comment is likely to be required at many Nordic areas in the time frame of treating an accident. If it was one of the few serious accidents that requires a significant amount of first aid equipment a trauma-pack would be dispatched by snowmobile. Given the size of the inflatable sled backpack and depending on the Nordic area it could be worn by one of a pair of patrollers while skiing the tracks loop.

      6. The inflatable sled is light and can be delivered to the scene of an accident and retrieved patient from the scene without endangering the other Nordic skiers by sending a snowmobile out on to the set track.

      What we really have is someone who cannot see beyond his own narrow view of the world. Just because you need a hammer doesn’t mean that it is the only tool everybody needs. I don’t know it the Inflatable Sled is viable design or not but it is interesting design exercise.

  • Bergschlawiner says:

    Agree that this device is of no use to mountain rescue but may have uses for ski patrols and anyone operating entirely on snow.

    • Summit says:

      Wow, someone has their panties in a bunch. I’ll admit I didn’t give nordic ski patrols any thought as nordic skiing has a far lower rate of participation and of injury and the nordic resorts around here just snomobile or even ATV pts out.

      After hearing your arguments, that device sounds like it would fit nordic needs pretty well (depending on cost)! OTOH, for that application you could probably also just purchase a self inflating air mattress and rig up a carry system for cheaper than I imagine that system costing… who knows though.

      My points stands for alpine patrols, mountain rescue, and expeditions.

      If you go for durability and make that thing out of hypalon (or whatever heavy duty pasticized fabric) you end up making the product very heavy and very bulky.

      Here is a lightweight low cost (2# $200) product that does the same as this product:
      Except it doesn’t have the insulation and it does require the patient’s skis to build the system. Very good tool for expeditions and guides.

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