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Founded in 2017, Tingeer is a Zhangjiagang City-based manufacturer specializing in medical stretchers, emergency products, and hospital furniture. With over 50 product varieties, we offer OEM services and export globally, earning a positive international reputation.
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Comparing Scoop Stretchers and Backboards for EMS Responder Spinal Immobilization

Comparing Scoop Stretchers and Backboards for EMS Responder Spinal Immobilization
Comparing Scoop Stretchers and Backboards

The choice between scoop stretchers and backboards is extremely significant in the emergency medical services (EMS) concerning spinal immobilization. It is important to understand the small differences between these two critical tools as this safeguards patients’ well-being during transportation. Being custom-made for different situations, scoop stretchers are made with innovative designs that give them flexibility regarding spinal support. Conversely, backboards are inflexible and offer stability and alignment essential for immobilization practices. When it comes to navigating these tools, there is a need for a comprehensive analysis of their features, merits, and demerits to enhance patient care services and the safety of the people helping them.

How does a scoop stretcher differ from a backboard when keeping the patient’s spine still?

Considering the nature of injuries, the location of patients, and the need for safe transportation, both scoop stretchers and backboards are important in pre-hospital care, especially during spinal immobilization in trauma cases. This section discusses the differences between these tools, their uses, and their importance in emergency medical services.

Spinal Immobilization

Injury prevention requires that the spine be kept from moving in trauma situations, as this may complicate an injury. Factors such as type of injury, patient location, and minimizing movement to the patient during transfer determine whether a decision will be made to use either a scoop stretcher or backboard. Continued herein are their advantages as regards where they can be best employed.


A backboard is a flat, rigid device used to immobilize and transport suspected spinal or limb-injured patients. Its major parameters include its rigidity, which offers comprehensive support for an entire body, including the spine; suitability very well with patients found lying down or requiring extraction from confined spaces; and compatibility with cervical spine immobilization devices. Backboards allow for immediate supine positioning of the patient since they are most commonly available in almost all emergency response vehicles.


Scoop Stretcher

For example, when the situation makes it impossible to lift a patient because it might cause more damage than healing, one may utilize a split vertical type of implement like a scooped stretcher, which does not necessitate much motion before placing it beneath the patient. These must be adjustable to fit right onto different-sized persons and have minimal lifting movements while transporting them over short distances, providing comfort over other mechanisms. Besides being stealthier choices by allowing movement through limited spaces among other scenarios like unavailability of bed surface due to softness such as sofas require one to go for Scoop Stretchers instead of Backboards.

Scoop Stretcher

How do EMS responders choose between a scoop stretcher and a backboard?

The choice between the two depends on patient needs and where they are being attended to. Some factors that influence this decision include the patient’s condition, how urgent or emergent it is, space constraints, and the need to minimize any further harm.

Spine Immobilization

In emergency conditions, for instance, EMS may prioritize spine immobilization. To avoid too much movement, when moving suspected spinal injury patients in tight spaces or areas with severe restriction of movement, scoop stretchers become preferable because they can easily be placed under the patient without him/her having to move. In those instances where complete immobilization over flat surfaces is required, a rigid support such as a backboard becomes mandatory.

Immobilization Techniques

When choosing which techniques to use for immobilizing individuals, emissaries consider the patient’s condition and the setting around them. The scoop stretcher’s ability to fit under the patient effortlessly without causing damage to their spine makes it an ideal choice during fast-response situations. Conversely, backboards are chosen specifically when there is an allowance for controlled and secure immobilization from scene to hospital.

Motion Restriction

One must consider motion restriction when deciding whether to use a scoop stretcher or backboard. Preventing further spinal cord injury is what matters most here. Scoop stretchers have a good advantage since scooping their patients with minimal movement makes them perfect tools in immediate motion restriction exercises, unlike backboards that essentially afford extensive support and restraint while transporting across long distances, ensuring maintenance of spinal alignment.

In emergencies, when is a scoop stretcher preferred over a backboard?

Where patient safety and injury mitigation are of paramount importance, particularly for spinal injuries, it is a common practice to use a scoop stretcher in emergency settings. This section gives insight into the specific contexts that make it more favorable, and it will be guided by practical considerations in EMS response.

when is a scoop stretcher preferred over a backboard?

Trauma Patient

When there is a trauma patient who is confined or in an unsafe position for movement, the scoop stretcher is used. It has been made such that it can be divided into two parts so that one places them under the patient without necessarily requiring him or her to move much, which reduces the chances of further damaging the spine.

Spinal Motion

In emergencies, the scoop stretcher plays a crucial role in reducing spinal motion (Miller 77). In some instances where patients are unable to help themselves due to any reasons like unconsciousness happening immediately after accidents, scooping up this device without changing their original positions becomes invaluable since these moments require restraining further spinal movement that could lead to other adverse effects.


For tight spaces and vehicle evacuations, the scoop stretcher carries the day, given its flexibility and ease of operation are some of its strengths. Its length can be adjusted and split apart, making it easy to accommodate victims of different sizes and work within limited space during rescues.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Backboard Compared to a Scoop Stretcher

This part evaluates the upsides and downsides of backboards vis-à-vis scoop stretchers in emergency medical scenarios. It aspires to ensure that EMS personnel are equipped with all the information they need to make rational judgments in different cases of rescue.

Spine Table

Backboards are an essential rigid surface for supporting spinal alignment during transportation, essential for patients whose injuries may have affected their spinal cord. However, their stiffened nature, coupled with the need to transfer patients onto them, can increase the risks of further injury.


When suspected limb fractures occur, backboards help immobilize them against likely movements that can worsen fractures. On the other hand, while scoop stretchers are adjustable and more adaptable, backboards cannot be bent easily, so they cause discomfort and bedsores.


Backboards offer an even surface, allowing pelvic immobilization in case of pelvic fractures. Nevertheless, putting a patient onto a backboard might worsen the pelvic injury, unlike scoop stretchers, which facilitate gentler scooping and lifting rather than placing procedures.

Best Practices to be followed by First Responders when using Spinal Immobilization Devices

First responders must follow best practices while using spinal immobilization devices to reduce the risk of further injury to patients. This section guides the correct techniques, emphasizing safety and efficacy during emergency situations.

Best Practices to be followed by First Responders when using Spinal Immobilization Devices


Indeed, to decrease the movement of the spine for spinal immobilization, one of the key methods is logroll. Consequently, medical professionals should act together and keep the patient’s head, neck, and back aligned while rolling him/her onto a device, hence reducing the chances of injuring an individual’s spinal cord.

Cervical Spine Injury

In cervical spine injuries, manual stabilization is commenced by applying a rigidity collar around the victim’s neck that limits motion. To avoid more complications, it is essential to be cautious as you transfer the victim to another support device for immobilization.

Emergency Medical Services

EMS personnel should adhere to a standardized protocol when it comes to spinal immobilization, starting with a thorough assessment of whether it is required or not. Proper use of scoop stretchers or spine boards and safe transport into health institutions are essential steps to save such patients from getting injured again.



Q: How is Scoop Stretcher different from EMS Responder Spinal Immobilization Backboards?

A: Scoop stretchers are contoured to support patients and maintain spinal alignment, while backboards are flat, rigid devices that support the whole body.

Q: When should one choose a Scoop Stretcher over a Backboard?

A: For example, EMS responders may prefer a scoop stretcher, especially when dealing with patients who sit or slightly recline, because it can be easily manipulated in such situations.

Q: What does a Ferno product mean in terms of EMS immobilization?

A: They manufacture medical equipment, including devices used for spinal immobilization, so they are famous for their quality and durability during emergencies.

Q: What is a Vacuum Mattress’s role in managing spinal injury?

A: It molds onto the shape of the patient’s body, providing customized support and immobilization, thereby reducing movement during transportation that may cause further damage to the spine.

Q: What does SMR protocol do in pre-hospital care?

A: It aims to minimize movements on the vertebral column among possible spinal injured clients, thus lowering the chances of worsening injuries during handling and transport.

Q: Can EMS responders do log-roll maneuvers using both types of stretchers?

A. Yes, an EMT can use log-roll maneuvers, either by using a scoop stretcher or a backboard, depending on what is suitable for these patients and the situation at hand.

Q: How important would cervical collars be while limiting the movement of the cord?

A. Cervical collars are vital when stabilizing the cervical spine as they help prevent further injuries before proper assessment.

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