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What is a Spineboard?

What is a Spineboard?

Lifeguard Spineboard Kits: What They Are and How They’re Used

As a lifeguard, you have to be prepared for anything. Swimmers can experience injuries ranging from minor cuts to major slips resulting in concussions or even spinal injuries. When emergency scenarios arise, you will need the proper equipment on hand so that you can ensure that the swimmer is safely cared for. In some cases, this means using a lifeguard spineboard kit.

If you are unfamiliar with lifeguard spineboard kits, we’re here to help! In this article, we will walk you through the basics of spineboards including what they are and how they are used in emergency situations.

What is a Spineboard Kit?

A spineboard kit is a piece of medical equipment that is used to stabilize the spine of a patient who has been injured. The kit typically includes a spineboard, a head immobilizer, and straps. For lifeguards, spineboard kits are an essential piece of life-saving equipment. Always having one nearby while you are on duty can mean the difference between life and death. Lifeguard spineboard kits are accompanied by an emergency action plan (EAP) which involves securing the victim and removing them from the water as quickly and safely as possible.

When Are Lifeguard Spineboard Kits Used?

Lifeguards only use spineboard kits when there is a suspected spinal injury at bay. When it comes to rescuing uninjured drowning victims, you can pull them out of the water freely. When there is a suspected spinal injury, however, it is important to stabilize the victim before pulling them out so you can avoid worsening the injury. If a victim suffering from a spinal injury is not properly stabilized with a lifeguard spineboard kit, there is a chance that the injury could result in paralysis.

Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to using a spineboard kit is that it should only be used when the swimmer is still conscious. If they are unconscious, they are at higher risk of death. For that reason, it is important to remove them safely and quickly from the water.

How Do Lifeguards Use Spineboard Kits?

The spineboard is placed on the patient's back, and the head immobilizer is used to keep the patient's head in place. The most ideal situation for using a lifeguard spineboard is having a team of two or three lifeguards to help stabilize the victim. To avoid any unnecessary movement of the water or the victim, the team of lifeguards should enter the water by using a slide-in entry. Any abrupt waves or movement can further harm the victim, resulting in a serious spinal injury.

After you approach the victim, it is time to check for breathing and see if they are conscious. If they are not conscious, it is imperative for you to get them back to land as quickly as possible so you can begin with CPR. However, if they are still conscious, it is time to proceed with the lifeguard spineboard kit.

As you stabilize the victim, one lifeguard will ensure that the head and neck are supported while the other secures them onto the spineboard using the straps. After the victim is secured, you can remove them from the water carefully and proceed with the next steps.


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