skip navigation


Emergency Patient Evacuation Equipment

The Inpatient Area Supervisor and the inpatient Unit Leaders will determine the best method of transporting each patient. In making their decisions they must consider the patients' medical conditions, the type of evacuation required (horizontal or vertical), the severity of the situation, the time frame in which the evacuation must be completed and the personnel available to evacuate the patients.

A. Wheelchairs 
...are used to move ambulatory and some non-ambulatory patients. Wheelchairs are used for normal transportation, and staff are trained and practiced in their use.

B. Gurneys and Carts 
...are used to move non-ambulatory patients. Gurneys and carts are used for normal transportation, and staff are trained and practiced in their use.

C. Beds: 
In general, beds are not used to move patients, but in special circumstances, such as the ICU, it may be less hazardous to the patient to move the entire bed. Where this is the case, enough staff must be used to control the equipment, so as not to be jammed or hung-up in doorways and (as necessary) to control the beds on ramps.

D. Improvised Equipment used only when normal equipment is not available or practical. 

1. Stiff, straight-backed chairs may be used to move patients, particularly down stairs. The patient should be secured to the chair with straps or torn sheets at their knees, waist, and under their arms to assure they do not slip off the chair. One person controls the back and one person grasps the front legs with their back to the patient. Lift and move slowly.  An additional person may be useful on stairs in front of the lower person to stabilize the lift team and make sure they do not slip. Where patients might need to be transported on chairs, staff should practice this on a periodic basis. This method should be practiced with a weighted dummy or other significant weight on the chair.

2. Blanket drags and multi-person carries are not expected to be used to evacuate patients horizontally. They may be necessary in a vertical evacuation. Where they may be needed, staff will be trained in their safe use.