Having to shoulder a wounded comrade is never a question for soldiers, but having a method to do it more efficiently in close combat has been a needed innovation. A new device called an Injured Personnel Carrier (IPC) has now been designed to replace the old over-the-shoulder method by creating a sling — or human backpack — to free up a soldier's hands to navigate evacuation.
Necessity is often the mother of invention for soldiers out in the field. The Israeli Army — which often operates in close combat and urban situations — have cobbled together a series of rifle slings to help them carry their wounded to safety while still keeping their hands free to navigate or fight more freely. The IPC improves upon the improvised slings with padding and straps that allow them to essentially take a downed soldier and "wear" them on their backs.
In theory, this more secure form of transport is safer for the wounded. The over the shoulder carry — known as the fireman's carry — is reliant on the mobile solider to keep the wounded man steady with one arm.
When a wounded man is carried like a backpack and secured to other gear it means their weight is more evenly distributed. The more even the weight, the more stable the ride is for both the injured and mobile soldier during the hustle out of combat.
Stability also means more comfort for the wounded and likely a quicker trip.
The IPC is currently created for the Israeli Army by Agilite. It only weighs about 3/4 of a pound and folds to a length of 10 inches, making it very easy to pack in a soldier's gear.
The new backpack is getting so much attention for its practicality the company is reporting interest from firefighters, rescue teams and even civilians.
The IPC sells for approximately $80.