NBC Casualty Bag

Casualties on a nuclear battlefield present a number of problems. They need protecting from radiation and chemical agents, however their wounds might make this difficult, and it is highly likely that they will be contaminated and care must be taken to ensure that the medical staff moving the casualty do not become contaminated themselves before they can reach a decontamination station. Added to this, the casualty may contaminate a stretcher that is relatively expensive and difficult to clean and may be needed quickly without time for cleansing. To get around all these problems, the British army introduced a casualty bag which was a bag that a casualty wearing his respirator could be placed inside during transport to a casualty clearing station and decontamination. With the casualty in the bag and the medical crew in full NBC suits, a nightmarish image presents itself:

The casualty bag is rectangular in shape and made of green fabric, the top part being treated with charcoal just like an NBC suit:

To help keep the patient calm and make it feel less like a body bag, there is a transparent window in the top that also allows medics to keep an eye on the casualty as well:

The underside of the bag has a waterproof layer to help prevent it absorbing vesicant gasses from the ground when it is laid on it:

The whole of one side of the bag is secured with Velcro to allow it to be opened to put the casualty inside:

A printed label is sewn to the outside of the bag:

The bags themselves are issued tightly folded and secured with rubber bands:

They are then packed in clear plastic packs to protect them until needed:

A paper packing label is included in this which shows that this casualty bag dates back to 1979:

This casualty bag would later be updated to the Mk II which is made of a stronger and more easily decontaminated outer material, much like the underside of the Mk I but over the whole bag. Luckily these bags have never been needed to be used in anger, however one can only imagine how frightening and disorientating it would be to be an injured soldier inside one of these bags.

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