Elisava students design a rescue stretcher to make mountain rescues faster and safer for GRAE firefighters


Ten Design and Industrial Design Engineering students from Elisava, the University School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona, have designed and created an innovative, detachable and foldable rescue stretcher to make mountain rescues faster and safer for the GRAE Unit of the Fire Brigade of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

TRU01 is a folding stretcher, 2 metres long and weighing 14 kg, which can be assembled in a few seconds and can be carried on the back in a rucksack format. The proposal is formed by a rigid base made of carbon fibre and joined to a foldable and portable aluminium tubular structure; and culminates with the textile bag made of polyamide. The stretcher offers three possibilities of use to adapt to the needs of each rescue: only use the base with the structure, only the textile bag or the base and the bag together.

The base of the litter is also foldable, lightweight and can be fitted with a headrest to make it more comfortable for the person being rescued. The base and frame are connected with a wheel that includes a shock absorbing and braking system to ensure that the stretcher is suitable for all types of rescues, including those on steep slopes or in rocky areas, among others. The wheel prevents the firefighters from having to lift the patient by weight, and the patient can be easily transported by pushing the stretcher. The textile bag is lightweight and ergonomic to ensure the comfort of the casualty.

Faster and safer rescues

In 2020, 1,009 people were rescued in mountain accidents. Many of these accidents are in places that are difficult to access. Rescue bunk beds are currently difficult to transport and heavy. That is why the main objective of TRU01 is to favour the agility and comfort of the firefighter until he reaches the patient. The lightness and comfort of transport, as it can be carried on the back, ensures that the rescue team can reach the rescue site more easily and with less effort.

TRU01 is part of TrustTo, the Final Degree Project of eight students from the Degree in Industrial Design Engineering and two students from Elisava's Simultaneous Studies Programme. The team with a startup vocation has divided into two groups of five students to work each one on a proposal for a stretcher. For six months the students have worked with the GRAE unit of the Fire Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya and have analysed the materials, ergonomics, production processes and the environment to understand the current needs of rescue teams to design and create a product tailored for mountain rescues.

Crowdfunding campaign

The students behind Trust have launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Verkami platform to raise funds to develop the prototype and test it in the mountains with the GRAE firefighters.