Dura 5 Spineboard (1985)



The Dura 5 spineboard is an emergency stretcher used to immobilize and transport a person with a suspected spinal injury.

The Dura 5 incorporated the same immobilization principles developed for the Dura 4 with several refinements. The board was rotationally moulded in cross linked polyethylene and filled with rigid urethane foam – a significant improvement over the fiberglass which tended to chip when dropped.

The neoprene harnesses provided comfortable padding at key pressure points and they provided storage for the straps when the board was not in use. The harnesses, were slidably adjustable to accommodate a child or adult. Buoyant for water rescue, durable and lightweight, the board was compatible with ambulance gurneys, rescue litters, CT scanners and MRI diagnosis.

The Dura 5 was distributed by the Royal Life Saving Society Canada (now The Lifesaving Society) who supplied rescue equipment to swimming facilitiies across Canada. In 1986 the board was licensed to Ferno Washington Inc. who introduced it as the FernoDura Spineboard in 1987.


-Richard Brault

The Dura 5 was the successor to the Dura 4 and it became our second entrepreneurial project. The fundamental difference between them was our decision to switch from a fiberglass board to a rotomoulded polyethylene shell, similar to a windsurfer. Designers Jonathan Vinden and Sharron Katz joined Dianne and I for the project. Shortly afterwards, patent lawyer Robert MacFarlane agreed to come on board we created a separate company.

This was an exciting time for 4 young designers. We’d meet in the evenings and on weekends at the apartment. Many models and sketches were produced. Jonathan, a former classmate and an very talented designer, carved an accurate full size foam mock-up with nothing more than an exacto knife and a sanding block. Sharron sewed numerous harness concepts. At one point, Dianne’s uncle Tony gave us access to his woodworking shop where Dianne, JV and I would meet at night to build a full-scale working prototype. These were fun days.

In November 1984, we loaded the prototype (paint not yet dry) into a Honda Civic and drove to Wilmington Ohio to present the Dura 5 to Ferno Washington Inc. a large manufacturer of ambulance equipment. Ferno eventually became the worldwide licensee for the Dura 5 - see FernoDura Spineboard.

The aluminum moulds were cast in Toronto. All manufacturing took place in the Toronto area and the assembly/packaging was carried out on weekends in a tiny warehouse space on Polson Street that we rented on a month-by-month basis. Deliveries were done in a ‘Rent a Wreck’ van, and luckily our distributor was only 3 km away.

Richard Brault
Dianne Croteau
Jonathan Vinden
Sharron Katz
Lorraine Chartier


copyright STUDIO INNOVA 2006