Sept. 25 - Being on constant alert, the Israeli Defense Force is one of the best equipped militaries in the world. Now, many of its soldiers carry a new hands-free harness developed by Israeli-US based company Agilite, which offers greater flexibility and safety in evacuating the injured. Jim Drury has more.
UPSOT: ADVERT FOR AGILITE WITH SOLDIERS RUNNING, COMMENTARY, AND GUNS FIRING It's a life-or-death question that has confronted soldiers in countless wars - how to carry an injured colleague without becoming vulnerable to attack themselves. Israeli-US firm Agilite say their simple body harness offers an effective, low-tech solution. Ellie Isaacson is one of Agilite's founding partners. SOUNDBITE (English) ELIE ISAACSON, FOUNDING PARTNER IN AGILITE, SAYING: "The product is called the Injured Personnel Carrier, or IPC. It's also been nicknamed the 'human backpack', and what it does is allows you to carry an injured person on your back like a backpack, leaving your hands completely free, which obviously if you are a soldier or a rescue professional being able to crawl with your hands or operate a weapon is a totally new added capability." Isaacson developed the idea with two fellow soldiers during military service in the Israeli Army. Combat unit troops had shown off their own makeshift solution for carrying the injured, by turning four rifle slings into a backpack harness. The IPC takes the idea a step further. It incorporates slings with adjustable straps and padding, easing one of the toughest stages of the evacuation process, the actual lifting of a person from the ground. Recently purchased by the US Marines, Isaacson says the IPC is gaining popularity both with military clients and search and rescue services. SOUNDBITE (English) ELIE ISAACSON, FOUNDING PARTNER IN AGILITE, SAYING: "Other civilian clients can be anybody from mining companies, cruise lines, people who need a rescue devise from very confined spaces because it lets you carry the person on your back in a very narrow way and manoeuvre through tight spaces. We also have lots of individuals all over the world who are buying it for disabled family members and friends, to be able to go hiking with them, to be able to manoeuvre." Agilite says the harness is not designed to carry people with spinal injuries and that it's not meant to replace a stretcher. Isaacson says the company is working on a new version that connects directly to a helicopter's lifting mechanism for rapid extraction...harnessing a low tech solution for saving lives.