New backboard on the market


CarolinaFireJournal - David Pease
David Pease The Reds Team
10/10/2014 -

While on the way to the Fire Rescue Expo in Baltimore, I ran across a gentleman by the name of James Campbell at the airport in Charlotte, who was also attending the expo. We exchanged a few nice comments and both boarded the plane and headed for Baltimore. Once we landed I decided to see if he might want to share a taxi to the convention center to cut down on the price. After hopping a shuttle to his hotel and figuring we would save the taxi fare, we ended up in the wrong place. In the end, we still had to catch and pay for a taxi.


During our ride together I found out he was a vendor at the show and was there to showcase a new backboard he was working with. He explained how the board worked and what made it different from the standard backboards. He ended up with a booth directly across from ours. Of course I had to investigate this new backboard a little further.

The concept began in 1999 when John Spanton watched his son play football and witnessed numerous potential injuries on the field. He noticed that even though the EMTs were doing the best they could, he could still see the player’s spine and neck being compromised. This was especially true for the technicians having to deal with the equipment. He shared this with a friend by the name of Jason Viebrock. The two of them started the design of a belt driven spine board. Unfortunately John died in 2005. So Jason, along with several other investors decided to keep the idea going. After eight more years of work and development, it finally came full circle. Jason partnered with Ben Rice and formed InMotionSpineBoard LLC.

This backboard has a small, but powerful motor that allows for the sliding of the board under the patient. The board angles down so it will easily slide under the feet or head. The board then crawls all the way under your patient until they are squarely on it like a standard backboard. It moves slowly so as not to move or jar the patient. After watching the board slide under a victim I was pretty amazed. Having practiced as a medic for 26 years, and having been an EMT instructor for 15 years, I have seen my share of patients placed on backboards. When teaching, I stressed the proper roll and stabilization of a patient being back boarded. The problem was, and still is, the movement of the patient by the medical technicians. Some did pretty good, but honestly, a lot of them placed stress on the spine during a log roll, or lift and slide. This usually occurred during the roll when the head and spine did not stay in good alignment.

The thing I really liked about this spine board was that it hardly moves the patient when being used. The board moves under the patient with little to no movement of the back or neck. Also, it only takes a couple of technicians to put the board in place, instead of four to six. One of the medical technicians controls the unit with a handheld controller, while the other monitors the patient. The board works especially well with sports injuries and can be used on patients without removing any of their equipment. The board also allows you to place the patient on the hospital stretcher with the same ease as when you packaged them. Strapping them to the board and the standard head mobilization is no different than with a typical board.

This board is made of lightweight, honeycombed aluminum framing. It uses two belts that counter rotate in opposite directions to slide the board under the patient. The board has a weight capacity of over 700 pounds and allows for the movement of large patients. It slides under the patient on almost any surface, and separates for ease of transport. The board will fit on a standard ambulance stretcher and is battery operated. There are also caps that cover the electrical connections to prevent contamination and for washing. The board can be washed and decontaminated with ease. The belts and frame are all aluminum so they also wash easily.

Having seen backboards go from the old poly sealed plywood like I started out using, to stronger boards made of poly plastics that would clean up well to meet the blood borne pathogen standards, to now a board that will effortlessly slide under you patient while maintaining excellent back and neck stabilization, is phenomenal. Technology just continues to amaze me, and I have been fortunate to live through some major breakthroughs in the emergency medical field. I started out using a Thomas half ring splint that had to be applied with triangle bandages and tightened with a pair of bandage shears, sending an EKG with a APCOR unit like they used with Squad 51 on the TV show emergency to 12 lead EKGs before I retired in 2001 from EMS. Luckily, the young EMTs today are currently being trained on some cutting edge technology.

The InMotionSpineBoard is another one of those technology breakthroughs that could revolutionize field work for EMS personnel. For more information on the spineboard visit their website at

If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me an email at [email protected]. Until next time, train hard, be safe, and know your equipment.

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