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Publication numberUS3711879 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 23, 1973
Filing dateOct 26, 1970
Priority dateOct 26, 1970
Publication numberUS 3711879 A, US 3711879A, US-A-3711879, US3711879 A, US3711879A
InventorsSiefert N
Original AssigneeSiefert N
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rescue sled
US 3711879 A
Abstract
A lightweight, portable rescue sled for use on ice and in water for rescuing persons or animals who have fallen through the ice of a body of water such as a pond, river, or lake. The rescue sled includes a pair of lightweight spaced float members having a rescue stretcher supported therebetween for a major portion of the length of the float members, and a pair of hand rails attached to the float members and supported in an essentially upright position by a hand rail support assembly. In operation, the operator of the rescue sled positions himself in an opening defined at the rear of the rescue sled and applies pressure against the hand rails thereby causing the rescue sled to move rapidly across the ice toward a victim in the water. As the rescue sled is caused to move across the ice, the weight of the rescue sled and its operator are spread over a large area of the ice thereby minimizing the danger of breaking through the ice before reaching the victim.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[ 1 Jan. 23, 1973 [57] ABSTRACT A lightweight, portable rescue sled for use on ice and in water for rescuing persons or animals who have fallen through the ice of a body of water such as a pond, river, or lake. The rescue sled includes a pair of lightweight spaced float members having a rescue stretcher supported therebetween for a major portion of the length of the float members, and a pair of hand rails attached to the float members and supported in an essentially upright position by a hand rail support assembly. In operation, the operator of the rescue sled positions himself in an opening defined at the rear of the rescue sled and applies pressure against the hand rails thereby causing the rescue sled to move rapidly across the ice toward a victim in the water. As the rescue sled is caused to move across the ice, the weight of the rescue sled and its operator are spread RESCUE SLED Inventor: Norman F. Siefert, 41 Court Road,

Winthrop, Mass. 02152 Filed: Oct. 26, 1970 Appl. No.2 83,890

Knt. Field of Search .....9/1 1,

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Unite States Patent Siefert 114/61 over a large area of the ice thereby minimizing the danger of breaking through the ice before reaching Clemans..........................t......114/43 the victim Villar Pfeifer.......

Laughlin Carr..........

7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures Connor Primary Exam inerTrygve M. Blix Assistant Examiner-Gregory W. O Att0meyPeter Xiarhos Pmsmmmza Ian 3,711,879

SHEET 1 UF 2 INVENTOR NORMAN F. SIEFERT PATENTflJAn23 I975 3.711.879

' sum 2 OF 2 INVENTOR NORMAN F SIEFERT RESCUE sum BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a rescue sled and, more particularly, to a lightweight, portable rescue sled for use by an operator on an ice surface for rescuing persons or animals who have fallen through the ice of a body of water.

Various techniques and apparatus have been employed heretofore for rescuing persons or animals who have fallen through the ice of a body of water such as a pond, river, or lake. For example, in the rescue of persons it has been known previously to employ ropes, life rings, human chains, single ladder or multiple ladder arrangements, and various types of rescue boats. While each of the abovementioned techniques and apparatus has been employed successfully on occasion, each has certain shortcomings and disadvantages. For example, the use of ropes or life rings is effective only if the person to be rescued is a mature, agile individual, capable of letting go of the ice and grasping onto a rope or life ring, and securing it to himself so that he can be safely pulled out of the water. Thus, if the person to be rescued is a frightened and chilled child, or an elderly person, and barely able to hang onto the edge of the ice, a rope or life ring alone may not be sufficient. The use of human chains and ladder arrangements is very risky and time consuming, and endangers the life, limb and safety of a rescuer. In addition, the use of multiple ladder arrangements requires a great deal of training and skill and, for this reason, is generally limited to fire departments and rescue organizations trained and skilled in rescue operations. Rescue boats are often not completely effective because of difficulties in moving such boats across the ice toward a victim, these boats often not being designed for use on ice, and the generally excessive time required to reach a victim. In addition, the weight of such boats and its operators is generally not spread over a significant area of the ice, often resulting in a rescue boat itself breaking through the ice before reaching a victim in the water. As an additional disadvantage, many types of rescue boats require operation by skilled divers who, in preparation for a rescue operation, must go through the time-consuming operation of donning diving suits and appropriate life-saving gear.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly, a sled apparatus is provided in accordance with the present invention which avoids many of the shortcomings and disadvantages of prior art rescue techniques and apparatus such as discussed hereinabove. In accordance with the present invention, a rescue sled is provided which includes a pair of elongated, spaced float members each of which has a glide surface. A body-receiving means is disposed between the pair of float members for receiving and supporting the body of a victim thereon. In accordance with the present invention, the body-receiving means is disposed along the pair of float members for a distance less than the total length of the float members and, together with the float members, defines an opening at one end of the rescue sled for an operator to position himself within while operating the rescue sled on an ice surface. The rescue sled of the invention also includes a pair of hand-grasping members, one attached to each of the float members. The hand-grasping members include respective hand-receiving portions proximate to the opening defined at the aforementioned end of the rescue sled for receiving the hands of an operator while the operator is positioned within the opening and enabling the operator to impart motion to the rescue sled to cause the rescue sled to glide along an ice surface when force is applied by the operator against the hand-receiving portions of the hand-grasping members. When the abovedescribed rescue sled is placed in motion by an operator, a significant portion of his weight is distributed over the area of the rescue sled. As a result, both the weight of the rescue sled and the operator are spread over a large area of the ice thereby reducing the possibility of the rescue sled breaking through the ice.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Various objects, features, and advantages of a rescue sled in accordance with the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed discussion and the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rescue sled in accordance with the present invention as set up for a rescue operation;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the rescue sled of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates in detail, and partially broken away, a hand rail locking mechanism employed by the rescue sled of the invention; and

FIG. 4 illustrates the rescue sled of the invention during a final stage of a rescue operation.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown in a perspective view a rescue sled l in accordance with the present invention. The rescue sled l of the invention generally includes a pair of elongated spaced float members 3 having a rescue stretcher 4 supported therebetween for a major portion of the total length of the float members 3, and a pair of hand rails 5 attached to the float members 3 and supported in an essentially upright position by a hand rail support assembly 6.

In accordance with the present invention, each of the float members 3 preferably has a generally rectangular cross section, and includes a core 7 of lightweight plastic material, for example, expanded polystyrene Styrofoam"). Flat deck members 8, typically of plywood, are attached to the lightweight cores 7, at the upper surfaces thereof, for providing a means to which the hand rails 5 can be attached and to protect the underlying cores 7. The sides of the cores 7, designated at 7a in FIG. 1, are generally left exposed to keep the weight of the rescue sled 1 at a minimum. Each of the cores 7 also has a flat glide plate 7b attached thereto, at the bottom surface thereof, and curving around the ends thereof. The glide plates 7b serve to provide a smooth gliding surface for the rescue sled l and to protect the cores 7 against excessive damage and wear.

The deck members 8 and the glide plates 7b may be secured to the cores 7 in a variety of different ways. However, the deck members '8 and the glide plates 7b are preferably attached to the cores 7 by means of threaded connectors 9 inserted through the deck members 8 and the glide plates 7b and also into the ends of a plurality of cylindrical threaded tubes 9a, shown in clotted outline in FIG. I, inserted into corresponding openings provided in the cores 7. For the sake of simplicity in the drawing, only two of the threaded tubes 90 are shown in FIG. 1. To insure that the float members 3 are sufficiently rigid during operation, a plurality of side angle braces are attached, as by threaded connectors, to the deck members 8 and the glide plates 7b at the side edges thereof. Typically, the side angle braces 10 are of lightweight aluminum. In addition, gusset-like members 12, also typically of aluminum, are attached to the end regions of the float members 3 by means of end angle braces 13 and also by means of the angle braces 10. The gusset-like members 12 serve to add additional strength to the float members 3 at the ends thereof.

The rescue stretcher 4 of the rescue sled 1 is supported between the float'members 3, for a major portion of the length thereof (for example, two-thirds of the length of the float members 3), by means of a pair of cylindrical tubes 17 and 18 attached to the upper surfaces of the deck members 8, as by metal C-clamps 20, and also by a cord 22. As shown in FIG. 1, the cord 22 passes through a plurality of spaced openings 24 provided around the peripheral edges of the stretcher 4 and winds around the tubes 17 and 18 and also around a plurality of pad-eyes or hooks 25 attached to the top inside edges of the deck members 8. The stretcher 4 may be of canvas, cloth, or of a suitable synthetic material. The cord 22 is preferably of a high-strength nylon material. The cylindrical tubes 17 and 18 are typically of aluminum.

Each of the hand rails 5 employed by the rescue sled 1 includes a front curved portion 5a, a longitudinal central portion 5b, and a rear curved portion 5c. The hand rails 5, which may be fabricated from cylindrical aluminum tubing, are attached to the deck member 8 by click straps or, alternatively, by oversized C-clamps, so as to permit the hand rails 5 to move freely between a position inboard of the rescue sled 1, as shown at position C in FIG. 2, and a position outboard of the rescue sled, as shown at position B in FIG. 2. Thus, as is apparent from FIG. 2, the hand rails 5 are capable of moving through an angle of approximately 180. The particular position of the hand rails shown in FIG. 1, intermediate the positions B and C and inboard of the rescue sled 1, corresponds to the position A shown in FIG. 2. The three hand rail positions A, B, and C shown in FIG. 2, and their purpose, will be described in greater detail hereinafter.

As mentioned previously, the hand rails 5 are supported in an essentially upright position by the hand rail support assembly 6. The hand rail support assembly 6 comprises a pivot member 6a secured (as by welding) to the cylindrical tube 18, a pair of support rods 6b movably attached at the lower ends thereof to the pivot member 6a, as seen more clearly in FIG. 2, and a locking mechanism 60 attached to the upper ends of the support rods 6b and engaging the hand rails 5. The locking mechanism 6c is shown more clearly in FIG. 3 and includes an essentially C-shaped member in which a pair of aligned openings 36 and 37 of different diameters are formed and within which a plunger assembly 38 is adapted to move. The plunger assembly 38 comprises a knob 38a to which there is attached a slidable plunger member 38b having a cylindrical portion 38c of approximately the same diameter as the diameter of the opening 36 and a cylindrical tip portion 38d of approximately the same diameter as the diameter of the opening 37. A spring 39 is disposed around the portion 380 of the slidable plunger member 38b and, in its relaxed position, as shown in FIG. 3, abuts at one end against the tip portion 38d of the slidable plunger member 38b and, at the other end, against an abutment 40 formed by the openings 36 and 37. As indicated in FIG. 3, an opening 41 is provided in the hand rail 5 associated with the locking mechanism 6c for receiving the cylindrical tip portion 38d of the slidable plunger member 38c when the locking mechanism 6c is in its engaged position, as shown in FIG. 3. To disengage or release the locking mechanism 60, thereby to release the associated hand rail 5, the knob 38 is simply lifted upwardly causing the spring 39 to be compressed against the abutment 40 and thereby causing the cylindrical tip portion 38d to be drawn out of the opening 40 in the hand rail 5.

In addition to the elements of the rescue sled 1 already described, a pair of rear tow hooks 42, typically of a nylon cord material, are attached to the ends of the deck members 8 nearest to the operator for the primary purpose of attaching reel lines thereto, as shown at 43 in FIG. 1, at the start of a rescue operation. In addition, a similar pair of front tow hooks 42a is attached to the opposite ends of the deck members 8 for the purpose of being used, together with the rear tow hooks 42, to lift and carry the rescue sled 1 from one place to another, for example, in and out of rescue vehicles, fire trucks, police cruisers, or station wagons.

OPERATION Prior to a rescue operation, the rescue sled 1 is set up as shown in FIG. 1 with the hand rails 5 engaged in their essentially upright position (position A in FIG. 2), and reel lines from ashore are attached to the rear tow hooks 42. The operator of the rescue sled 1 then positions himself at the rear of the rescue sled 1, in the opening defined at the rear of the rescue sled l by the stretcher 4 and the float members 3, as shown in FIG. 1, with his hands gripping the hand rails in the vicinity of the locking mechanisms 6c. The operator then pushes against the hand rails 5 while maintaining his position within the opening defined at the rear of the rescue sled l and while partially supporting himself on the rescue sled 1. As a result, the rescue sled 1 is caused to be moved quickly across the ice toward a victim in the water. Should the ice be slick, the operator of the rescue sled 1 may find it desirable to attach icegripping devices to his boots or shoes. As the operator pushes the rescue sled 1 across the ice, a significant portion of his weight (for example, from one-quarter to three-quarters) is transmitted to the center region of the rescue sled 1 by means of the hand rails 5. As a result, the weight of both the operator and the rescue sled l are distributed over a large area of the ice thereby minimizing the danger of breaking through the ice before reaching the victim in the water.

Once the operator of the sled reaches the vicinity of the victim in the water, for example, near the point of the break in the ice, he may then sit on the rear of the rescue stretcher 4 facing aft and, by pushing with his feet, gradually approach the victim. Alternatively, he may jump onto the rescue stretcher 4 and assume an appropriate initial position for rescuing the victim from the water. Should the victim be in the water at a point far removed from the break in the ice, the rescue sled l, which is capable of floating due to its lightweight construction, may be paddled or poled to the exact location of the victim. Paddles or poles may be placed for this purpose on the rescue stretcher 4 or on the deck members 8 prior to a rescue operation of this type. In addition, any necessary accessory life-saving items or equipment such as ropes, respirators, and the like, may also be placed on the rescue stretcher 4 or on the deck members 8.

Once the operator of the rescue sled 1 reaches the victim in the water, he preferably assumes a prone position on the rescue sled as shown in FIG. 4. While in this position, the weight of the operator is shifted toward the front of the rescue sled l causing the front of the rescue sled to dip slightly below the surface of the water as shown in FIG. 4. With the front of the rescue sled 1 slightly below the surface of the water as shown, the victim, who may be exhausted and weak, can be pulled out of the water and onto the rescue sled l with a minimum oflifting and with a minimum of pulling the victim against or around sharp corners of the rescue sled. It is to be particularly noted that while the operator of the rescue sled l is lying in the prone position shown in FIG. 4, the support rods 6b of the hand rail support assembly 6 provide a very convenient spot for the operator of the rescue sled 1 to hook his feet for the purpose of bracing himself and maintaining his position on the rescue sled 1 while pulling the victim onto the rescue sled 1, thereby preventing the operator himself from falling into the water. Alternatively, the cylindrical tube 18 may be used for this purpose. After the victim has been pulled onto the rescue sled 1, he is placed on the rescue stretcher 4 and, if necessary, given whatever attention or care required or possible in the particular situation. The rescue sled 1 may then be pulled back ashore via the reel lines 43 or paddled or poled back by the operator of the rescue sled to a point of safety. It is to be noted that in the event several victims are present in the water at the same time during a rescue operation, the hand rails 5 may be dropped to their outermost positions, as shown at position B in FIG. 2, by releasing the clamp mechanisms 60, thereby enabling some of the victims to grasp onto the hand rails 5 and remain safely in the water while other victims are being attended to or while additional rescue help is being sought or is arriving at the scene of the rescue operation.

The rescue sled l of the invention, when not in use, can be easily transported from one place to another without requiring a great deal of space. For example, when the rescue sled I is not in use, the hand rails 5 and the hand rail support assembly 6 may be folded down in a flat position, as shown at position C in FIG. 2, by simply releasing the locking mechanism 6c. The rescue sled 1 may then be lifted and carried from one place to another by means of the tow hooks 42 and 42a as previously mentioned.

MODIFICATION Although a rescue sled l of a preferred construction has been described hereinabove, it is to be appreciated that many variations and modifications are possible.

For example, in lieu of the particular float members 3 described hereinabove, hollow float members having closed ends and employing air as a lightweight core material, though less desirable than the particular float members 3, may be satisfactorily employed. Also, a variety of different types of hand rails, or hand-grasping members generally, having constructions and configurations differing from the particular hand rails 5 described hereinabove, may be employed so long as such hand-grasping members have a portion proximate to the opening defined at the rear of the rescue sled for receiving the hands of an operator. In addition, it is also possible for a hand-grasping member, such as the handrail 5 of the present invention, to be permanently attached to the float members in which event a support assembly, such as the support assembly 6, may not be necessary. Other modifications and variations will be obvious to those skilled in the art without departing from the invention as called for in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A rescue sled for use by an operator on an ice surface and in water during rescue operations, comprising:

a pair of elongated, spaced float members, each having a glide surface;

body-receiving means disposed between the pair of float members for receiving and supporting the body of a victim thereon, said body-receiving means being disposed along the pair of float members for a distance less than the total length of the float members, said body-receiving means and float members defining an an opening at one end of the rescue sled for an operator to position himself within while operating the rescue sled on an ice surface;

a pair of movable hand-grasping members, one attached to each of the float members, each of the hand-grasping members being capable of movement between a first position inboard of the rescue sled and a second position outboard of the rescue sled; and

support means for supporting each of the handgrasping members in a position intermediate the associated first and second positions and inboard of the rescue sled, said hand-grasping members including respective hand-receiving portions proximate to the opening defined at said one end of the rescue sled when the hand-grasping members are in the intermediate positions, said hand-receiving portions being adapted to receive the hands of an operator while the operator is positioned within said opening and enabling the operator to impart motion to the rescue sled to cause the rescue sled to glide along an ice surface when force is applied by the operator against the hand-receiving portions of the hand-grasping members, a significant portion of the weight of the operator being distributed over the area of the rescue sled when the rescue sled is in motion.

2. A rescue sled in accordance with claim 1 wherein the support means includes:

a support structure between the pair of float members;

a pair of elongated rod members, one associated with each of the hand-grasping members, each of the rod members being attached at one end to the support structure; and

a pair of locking mechanisms, one attached to the opposite end of each of the rod members and engaging the associated hand-grasping member.

3. A rescue sled in accordance with claim 2 wherein each of the locking mechanisms includes means for disengaging the associated hand-grasping member.

4. A rescue sled in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

each of the movable hand-grasping members is capable of movement through an angle of approximately 180, each of the hand-grasping members being capable, when in the second position, and when the rescue sled is in water, of being grasped by a victim in the water.

5. A rescue sled in accordance with claim 1 wherein the support means includes means for enabling an operator to brace himself and maintain his position on the rescue sled when the operator is in a prone position on the rescue sled during a rescue operation.

6. A rescue sled in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

each of the pair of float members has a generally rectangular cross-section and includes a core of an expanded polystyrene material;

the body-receiving means includes a stretcher; and

the hand-grasping members are cylindrical hand rails, each of the cylindrical hand rails including first and second end portions attached to the 0pposed end regions of the associated float member and a longitudinal portion between the first and second end portions.

7. A rescue sled in accordance with claim 6 further comprising:

means attached to each of the float members at the said one end of the rescue sled for receiving a reel line.

Patent Citations
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US861607 *Apr 19, 1906Jul 30, 1907August PfeiferCombined sleigh and boat.
US2748740 *Sep 24, 1954Jun 5, 1956Manuel P VillarCatamaran
US2751876 *Jun 20, 1955Jun 26, 1956Ogilvie Harry WManual propulsion and steering means for watercraft
US3090339 *Apr 6, 1962May 21, 1963Carr Thomas EMolded plastic pontoons
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4179764 *Feb 8, 1978Dec 25, 1979Lindblade Roy WLifesaving device
US4347635 *Jan 30, 1980Sep 7, 1982The Eisenhauer Manufacturing CompanyStretcher and litter combination
US4717362 *Mar 29, 1985Jan 5, 1988Urban KraftLifesaving craft
US4968046 *Jun 27, 1989Nov 6, 1990Connell Michael J OLightweight amphibious water-onto-ice rescue sled
US5320567 *Jun 29, 1993Jun 14, 1994Angel Guard Products, Inc.Aquatic rescue device
US5888111 *Dec 6, 1997Mar 30, 1999Walker; George KristonInflatable ice mud water rescue craft
US6190222Nov 19, 1999Feb 20, 2001David SengerThin ice inflatable rescue ladder
US7666046Jun 1, 2007Feb 23, 2010Nautic & Art Inc.Rescue water craft
WO1985005340A1 *Mar 29, 1985Dec 5, 1985Urban KraftLifesaving craft
Classifications
U.S. Classification441/82, 114/43
International ClassificationB63C9/32, B63C9/00
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/32
European ClassificationB63C9/32