Rio Rancho Fire Department using alternative to backboards

Created: 03/07/2014 6:22 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

When the call is made, firefighters and paramedics quickly respond to the scene of an accident. Their goal: get the victim out of harm's way and to the hospital.

Most first responders in the country still pick up a person and strap them onto a board similar to this one no matter what.

That will no longer be the case in the City of Vision.

Dr. Darren Braude, the Medical Director for the Rio Rancho Fire Department, says the feedback has been excellent regarding the new method.

"We're the first department in the state to do this but there are other departments in the country that have started this initiative as well," he said.

The reason for the change: it's adding insult to injury!

Dr. Braude stated that there's evidence that the backboards are causing more harm than good in many cases and you end up with patients that are uncomfortable and end up having more back pain.

Here's how it works:

Before, if you were involved in a car accident, paramedics would check your vitals and put on a neck brace for safety.

Then they'd put you on the backboard and strap you in.

Now, in the same case, first responders will help guide you. It does involve standing up, but first responders will help you get to a nice comfortable stretcher and wheel you off to safety.

The backboards will still be used when the victim is unconscious or is under cardiac arrest.

The Albuquerque Fire Department along with Bernalillo County Fire plan on implementing the same policy next month.

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