Richard MacIntosh and Gerry Clark stand next to the Stephenville-Kippens-Port au Port Search and Rescue team’s rescue basket stretcher with attached litter mule. Christopher Vaughan photo

When facing the challenge of transporting an injured person during a search and rescue operation, the Stephenville-Kippens-Port au Port Search and Rescue team has a piece equipment that greatly helps with the effort.

The group recently purchased a rescue basket stretcher, thanks to a donation from Stephenville resident Noel Estoppey.

The stretcher features a back board and neck brace that helps protect the injured person, in addition to straps and raised sides that keeps the person securely within the stretcher while being transported.

When moving a person with the stretcher, it can be carried by hand, secured to an all-terrain vehicle, or towed behind a snowmobile or a skier.

“This equipment can be utilized in any environment to help extract a casualty,” said Gerry Clark, the team’s organizer. “It is also strong enough that the casualty can be lifted by helicopter to a safe location.”

To make moving the stretcher by hand easier, the team has a litter mule that was purchased after a donation by Stephenville Lions Club.

The stretcher securely attaches to the device, whose single-wheel design permits easier movement over land.

“Usually it takes six to eight men to carry a stretcher any distances,” said Mr. Clark. “The litter mule, when attached to the stretcher, allows the casualty to be transported with only two members. (It’s a) manpower-saving piece of equipment.”