As critical as response time is in an emergency, it is infinitely more so in rural areas. Not only will emergency responders have to travel longer, there is often no support structure in place to help. Industrial Designer Simeon Ortmüller of Kiel, Germany, has devised a sectional, easily transported and assembled emergency river-crossing footbridge to enhance first responders’ capabilities.

ACCESS ($NA) consists of three units, each a bit smaller than a standard stretcher, that can be carried by two people. The ACCESS is kept light by the use of a bent-aluminum pipe framework. The near-shore side unit contains the coiled rubber bridge and is quickly fastened to the middle unit housing compressed air canisters. The third unit is shipped to the other side on a rubber raft and contains a rope winch and two coils of rope that are brought back to the first unit that unwinds the bridge as it is pulled across the river. The inflatable safety bumpers are then filled from the air tanks for extra stability in the stream.

Each side is anchored deeply into the ground by long screw-tipped spikes. While ACCESS is not large enough to transport vehicles, the resulting footbridge creates a path for both emergency personnel to enter, and for victims to escape to safety. [via]