How to Backboard a Patient

Introduction: How to Backboard a Patient

Hello my name is Presten Gruwell and today I will be showing you how backboard a patient. I have been an EMT for almost a year now and this is just one of our most critical skills to know and I believe that educating you on how this is done would be beneficial to anyone first on scene. The ability to do this correctly can save a person’s ability to walk and so much more. In this presentation I will be showing you five different steps in order on how to successfully backboard a patient. After reviewing the steps in this presentation I promise that you will be able to make a greater difference if the situation ever arises.


For this skill you will need a backboard, cervical collar, towel roll, tape, straps, and an assistant.

Step 1: Ensure the Scene Is Safe and Approach the Patient.

You will need your materials and common judgment to make sure that the scene is safe and approach your patient.

Step 2: Control Neck and Check CMS.

Control c-spine manually by holding the patients head at the inline position (assistant.) Then proceed to check the patients sensory, motor, and circulation. Show below is ways that this can be accomplished. First check pulses in all extremities by using two fingers above the patients foot and two fingers on the inside of the wrist of the patient. Find a pulse. Also color can show if they have good circulation. Secondly check sensory by pinching the patients finger or toe (doesn't matter which one) and if the patient responds by pulling away then they clear for that. Lastly have them wiggle their toes and fingers to ensure they have complete motor skills.

Step 3: Cervical Collar Application

This step will be correctly applying a Cervical Collar by first measuring the patients neck by using your own fingers as shown. Then compare them to the collar to get the correct neck height. Next adjust the collar height by using the built in adjusters. Lastly wrap the collar around the patients neck and secure it.

Step 4: Securing Patient to Backboard

Log-roll the patient towards yourself and check the back for any injury. Then set the backboard behind the patient and roll them onto it. Secure the torso first with the straps and then the legs. Next insert the towel roll under the patients head and rip out two even pieces of tape, long enough to circle around the patients head to the back of the board.

Step 5: Recheck CMS and Packaging

Lastly to finish off the skill is to recheck CMS the same way as before and package the patient by lifting them with two people into the back of an ambulance. That is how to perfectly backboard a patient.

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    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 years ago

    I've never seen how to do this before! Thanks for sharing :)