The Firefighter’s Wheelbarrow

TURK Rescue Kart

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that is certainly the case with a new device designed to make moving Stokes baskets an easier task. It’s called the TURK (Turnell Universal Rescue Kart) and it’s a two wheeled device designed to make carrying equipment laden Stokes baskets, ladders and backboards a one man job. It does this by carrying up to 600 pounds of equipment through the use of a rugged aluminum frame and two 15 inch “No Flat” tires.

  The kart works by turning the Stokes basket or ladder being carried into a lever, in essence turning the whole assembly into a quasi-wheelbarrow. Two protrusions from the frame of the Turk hold the top sides of the Stokes basket (or ladder) while the bottom rests in a cradle on the kart. Lifting up on the basket simultaneously pushes the basket onto into the cradle while it is prevented from moving upward by the extrusions, thus locking the whole assembly together. If the basket is located in an apparatus compartment within 3 feet of the ground, the TURK can be attached to the basket by one person. If the basket is on the ground, it requires 2 people to lift it up and slide it into the device. The basket can then be loaded with additional equipment and rolled to where it is needed. The tires are large enough that the whole assembly can be pulled up most sets of stairs with the assistance of a second rescuer.

  The TURK also has the ability to accommodate backboards between 18 and 20 inches. They are transported by flipping the unit over, then sliding the backboard into a bracket. The board is secured through the use of two pins which go through the bottom of the board, and two sliding arms which hold it in place. As with the Stoke operation, this allows one rescuer to move a patient either by pushing or pulling, although heavier patients may take two rescuers.

  The obvious advantage to the TURK is that it frees up rescuers while enhancing the carrying capability and speed of a single rescuer. This is especially useful for RIT because not only is a large amount of equipment needed; it also needs to be deployed quickly. Additionally, since only one person is needed to operate the TURK, the rest of the RIT crew is not tiring themselves out before their possible deployment.
The TURK is especially advantageous to departments that have the possibility of needing equipment in an area far from apparatus access. A good example of this capability involved the use of a TURK at an incident in the D.C. Metro train system in 2009. The TURK (in conjunction with a Stokes basket) was used to move 500 pounds of hydraulic rescue equipment approximately 1000 feet to the incident site. In areas where there will be a need for technical rescue equipment far from where the apparatus can park, the TURK would be a very effective means of moving equipment. It would also be advantageous in an MCI situation in which the amount of personal being utilized for transportation of equipment would want to be minimized.

  The TURK is a novel solution to the age old problem in which a lot of heavy things need to be moved from point A to point B. It acts as a “force multiplier” because it frees up crew members to perform other tasks and allows a single rescuer to carry more equipment then they could normally handle. The TURK can be ordered from with pricing starting at $1,395 and discounts for purchasing additional units.

2 Responses to “The Firefighter’s Wheelbarrow”
  • Chris Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Our department recently purchased the TURK. It is amazing how simple and easy this device works. It makes what use to be tiring work so much easier not to mention it frees up manpower to do other things. Great invention!

  • editor Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Definitely one of those “Why didn’t I think of this?” products.

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