ROUGH GROUND: Firefighters Seth Hands and Michael Hicks are balancing Ohope deputy chief fire officer Chris Staniland in his own contraption. Photo Troy Baker D9063-08

AN upcoming test of the Ohope Volunteer Fire Brigade’s latest transport aid is expected to yield a favourable result.

Having been subjected to limited tests during the past two weeks, the new monowheel stretcher contraption will soon be tested by transporting a person from Otarawairere Bay up to Otarawairere Road and the hypothetical waiting ambulance.

“We’ve done that before, using only a stretcher, and with a small lady as the patient,” deputy fire chief Chris Staniland said.

“There were 10 of us taking turns and when we got up to the road we were absolutely knackered.”

The Ohope brigade has, over the years, attended several calls where people have needed to be carried out along bush tracks and the monowheel will be very helpful in these situations.

“When transporting a stretcher across dunes and rough terrain, it’s better to have only one wheel,” Mr Staniland said.

The new device could also be used for transporting portable pumps and hoses during a fire call-out.

Mr Staniland came across the idea in a firefighting magazine.

“You can buy them in New Zealand for $2300 to $3000, coming from the USA, made from titanium and stainless steel,” he said. “We made our own for $300.”

Whakatane Motorcycles donated the second-hand wheel and BayFab helped out with the welding.

“We use push-bike calipers with the motorcycle disk for braking,” Mr Staniland said.

The placement of the wheel on the stretcher is situated with the patient’s centre of gravity in mind.

“We’ve had calls about this from all sorts of people, there’s been a lot of interest.”