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Now we are going to take a look at the spineboard or backboard. First of all, we are going to look at the surface itself and what it is made out of. It is a plastic that is cleanable, washable and we can sterilise it after use. It is a multiple-use piece of equipment, so it needs to be properly cleaned and properly cared for. It is x-ray-able, it is scannable, so when the patient is on it, we do not need to take them off it before they go into a scan or an x-ray to look for fractures of spine, back, neck and this sort of thing. They are designed to keep the patient stable all times until we have ruled in or ruled out spinal injuries.

If we start at the top, we have a head block or a head block fixing plate. So the head block itself at the head end is where the patient's head is going to rest and be secure at all times. There are velcro pads on either side and the head blocks themselves velcro down onto the head block fixing plate to keep the head in position. The head is then also held in place with two velcro head and chin straps. One goes over the forehead, one goes underneath the chin and velcros back on itself to keep the head fixed in that position.

We then look down the side of the board and we have got holes or slots cut out of the board. These slots are to actually fix straps to hold the patient to the board itself. There are two different types of straps, but the most common ones that you see now are the plastic type. Again, they are cleanable, we can wash them, we can sterilise them at all times. So they are made of a waterproof plastic. They have got a clip and the clip clips to the board itself, and once clipped, it is locked in position. One side has a buckle and the other side has a clip. Once put inside, the two clips come together into the buckle, a bit like an aircraft, and then you pull and the strap tightens. You will find that there will be three straps down the stretcher, one across the chest, one across the pelvis, one across the feet to keep the patient stable at all times and fixed to the board, so no matter how we move them, their spine, head and neck are kept in a straight line as fixed as possible to reduce any lateral movement on the spine to worsen or exacerbate any spinal injuries that the patient may have.

The board also has edges so it can be tipped without any difficulty to make it easier to slide it underneath the patient and the most common position that is used currently is on its side with the patient in what we call the log roll position, and then as the board comes back, the patient comes to the floor with the board close against their back and they are then strapped down.

Another important thing is, we must always put the head blocks on last, the strapping goes on first. That way if we have any issues with the patient fitting, slipping, knocking or being sick, the last point we fix is the head and neck, which means that we can easily sort the airway out, clear the airway, without having any problems with the neck and head area. The head and neck is the last piece to fix. We work up the body and the last point is head and neck fixed to the board.