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Extrication for the EMT?

Extrication for the EMT?

David Pease, Carolina Fire/Rescue/EMS Journal

Now, what about understanding the basics of vehicle extrication and the tools used to perform these extrications? Is the patient just trapped or are they pinned? Is there a difference in the two? I think a good base knowledge of these things is pertinent to the job as an EMT, even if it is not your responsibility to do the actual extrication work. You need to understand what is being done and why. This opens up your ability to assist if needed and know what is going on at the time.

I think that spending at least 8 hours learning about basic extrication is a must for all Emergency Medical Technicians, especially if they don’t get it in their EMT class. We are seeing more and more Fire Departments taking over rescue as the medical side becomes more advanced and involved. Both fire and EMS need to work hand in hand to get the job done for the benefit of the patient. Each group questioning the other is not the best way to achieve the greater outcome, it is a combined effort. So how can we make this situation better?

Well, I don’t see the EMT curriculum changing on my account or opinions, so I guess we have to look at making the change at the local level. How do we do that? First, we make sure our own training is up to par. Then, we invite our local EMS folks to our departmental extrication classes and let them participate in some of the hands on evolutions. This will aid them in understanding how difficult things can be sometimes. Invite them to classroom training as well, especially if you are covering new vehicle technologies. The more we strive to work together, the better we will all perform on the street.

We may not be able to change things on a grand scale, but we can sure start by changing things on a local scale. Perhaps over time, folks making those important curriculum decisions will see to add some things back into the outlines they produce. Always keep safety first, and don’t be afraid to “think out of the box.” Feel free to email me at and you can, visit our website at Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family this coming year.