By Det. Trent Koppel
We can all think of a time in recent years where a major evacuation of an event or public space had to happen quickly following an emergency. Due to the nature of the emergency, some people might be sick, injured, or otherwise unable to move. Having worked for and trained with a public safety department for several years now, I can tell you that trying to carry someone during a time of need is no easy task. Luckily, Clifford Adkins, inventor of the Med Sled, has found a solution to make those scary times go a bit smoother. After a conversation with a friend who just so happened to be the Risk Management Director for Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Adkins invented the Med Sled as a solution to the problems that arose when trying to evacuate an entire hospital as quickly as possible. The Med Sled is an iteration of a product Adkins has been selling to hunters for years called the Deer Sled. With its motto “you bag it, we drag it!” the Deer Sled was simply adapted to be a lifesaving tool.
The Beauty of this product is that you do not have to be a police officer, firefighter, or emergency personnel in order to use it. Adkins notes that, “even children in elementary schools have been introduced to the sleds….and can learn to use and feel confident using them!” In fact, US News and World Report rating the Med Sled the #1 evacuation product in the United States. Adkins also proudly pointed out that he also has contracts with 13 Countries around the world who are now using his Sleds, with many more coming. Most of the sleds listed for sale on the website are for hospital and other medical settings, but they can be used for all sorts of facilities, businesses, and schools. For instance, there is the Decon sled, which ensures easy movement of a non-ambulatory person through the Decon-Shower process, as well as the Evacuation Basket with Rack System, the Infant Insert style, the Toddler Insert, the Youth Sled, the Adult Sled, and the Bariatric Sled. If you own a business that has the potential to have heavy pedestrian traffic, you’d be fool not to have a system set in place to help with the evacuation. Remember, it’s not if, but when something can occur.
I have no doubt we have not heard or seen the last of Adkins and his Sleds. When I asked him what else we can expect in the future design of his product, he very humbly stated, “When those who use my sleds need a change, I feel it’s my duty to help fit that need”.
Trent Koppel is a St. Louis-based detective and adjunct professor at Maryville University.