Evacuation Sledge: The Ultimate Guide

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An evacuation sledge is a crucial piece of equipment for emergency situations, designed to transport individuals in need of assistance safely and efficiently. But what exactly is an evacuation sledge, and how can it be utilized in various scenarios?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about evacuation sledges, including their types, materials, features, applications, and more.

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An evacuation sledge is a specialized device used to transport individuals who are injured, disabled, or otherwise unable to move on their own during an emergency. These devices are designed to enable rescuers to quickly and safely evacuate people from hazardous situations while minimizing the risk of further injury or harm.

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Types of Evacuation Sledges

There are two main categories of evacuation sledges: horizontal and vertical. Each type is designed for specific situations and environments.

Horizontal Evacuation Sledges

Horizontal evacuation sledges are typically used for ground-level evacuation, such as in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. These sledges are designed for use on flat surfaces and can be easily maneuvered through doorways, hallways, and other tight spaces.

Vertical Evacuation Sledges

Vertical evacuation sledges are designed for use in high-rise buildings or other multi-story structures. They are equipped with features that enable them to be lowered down stairwells or through windows, making them ideal for evacuating people from upper floors during an emergency.

Materials and Construction

Evacuation sledges are typically made from durable, lightweight materials like nylon, polyester, or polypropylene. They often feature reinforced stitching, straps, and handles to ensure they can withstand the rigors of emergency use. Some sledges also incorporate padding or cushioning for added comfort during transport.

Features and Functions

A variety of features and functions can be found on evacuation sledges, catering to different needs and preferences.

Safety Features

Safety is paramount when it comes to evacuation sledges. Common safety features include straps to secure the individual being transported, non-slip surfaces, and braking mechanisms to control the sledge’s descent during vertical evacuations.

Comfort Features

In addition to safety features, some evacuation sledges also offer comfort features such as padded headrests, adjustable straps, and ergonomic handles for the rescuers. These features can help to make the evacuation process less stressful for both the evacuee and the rescuers.

Applications and Use Cases

Evacuation sledges have a wide range of applications and can be used in various emergency situations. Here are some common use cases:

Medical Emergencies

In medical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers, evacuation sledges can be used to transport patients who are unable to move on their own due to injury or illness. This can be particularly useful during situations like fires, power outages, or other emergencies that require immediate evacuation.

Natural Disasters

During natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes, evacuation sledges can be invaluable tools for rescuers. They can help transport injured or incapacitated individuals from affected areas to safety, even in challenging conditions.

High-rise Buildings

In high-rise buildings, evacuation sledges can be crucial for evacuating people who are unable to navigate stairwells or elevators, especially during fires or other emergencies that require rapid evacuation.

How to Use an Evacuation Sledge

To use an evacuation sledge effectively, it’s important to follow these steps:

  • Position the sledge next to the individual who needs to be evacuated.
  • Secure the person onto the sledge using straps or other provided safety features.
  • If using a horizontal sledge, have at least two rescuers on each side of the sledge to guide it through doorways and corridors.
  • For vertical evacuations, ensure the sledge’s braking mechanism is engaged and that rescuers are trained in its proper use.
  • Carefully and steadily transport the individual to safety.

Maintenance and Storage

Proper maintenance and storage of evacuation sledges are essential to ensure their effectiveness during emergencies. Keep the following tips in mind:

Inspect the sledge regularly for signs of wear or damage.

  • Clean the sledge with mild soap and water as needed, and allow it to dry completely before storing.
  • Store the sledge in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
  • Ensure that all rescuers are familiar with the sledge’s features, functions, and maintenance requirements.

Choosing the Right Evacuation Sledge

When selecting an evacuation sledge, consider the specific needs and environments in which it will be used. Factors to consider include:

  • The type of evacuation sledge (horizontal or vertical)
  • The materials and construction
  • The safety and comfort features
  • The ease of use and maneuverability
  • The size and weight capacity of the sledge


Evacuation sledges are essential tools for ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals during emergencies. Understanding their features, functions, and applications can help you make an informed decision when selecting the right evacuation sledge for your needs.


How much weight can an evacuation sledge support?

The weight capacity of evacuation sledges varies depending on the specific model and manufacturer. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for weight limitations and usage instructions.

Can evacuation sledges be used by a single rescuer?

While it’s possible for a single rescuer to use an evacuation sledge in some situations, it’s generally recommended to have at least two rescuers for optimal safety and control.

Are evacuation sledges suitable for children?

Yes, many evacuation sledges are designed to accommodate children. However, ensure that the sledge you choose is specifically designed for pediatric use or can be adjusted to accommodate smaller individuals.

What is the cost of an evacuation sledge?

The cost of evacuation sledges varies depending on the specific model, features, and materials. Prices can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Be sure to consider your budget