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Extrication: Back to Basics Part 2

David Pease, Chief

Our mission trip to Guatemala was pretty awesome and we had a great time teaching their folks some basic rescue techniques. They were eager to learn and we plan on returning July 2010 to continue their training and hopefully get some more equipment donated. Catch my articles on the trip and what we did.

Last issue we looked at how we approach vehicle crashes, remembering that we must make the scene safe and stable before we start our extrication procedures.

The battery should be disconnected to disable the frontal bag and help to eliminate any sparks or electrical arching. Next, the vehicles should be stabilized using cribbing, rescue jacks, or both. Then, do a quick check for the SRS markings that indicate side bags, curtain bags, or seatbelt pre-tensioners.

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Cutting into a 5000PSI cylinder could definitely be hazardous to your health.

Now we need to determine if the patient(s) are trapped or pinned. If the patient is trapped, then nothing is physically holding the patient in the vehicle, but there is no clear way for them to exit or be extricated from the vehicle.

If the patient(s) are pinned, then they are being physically held in the vehicle by the vehicle. Trapped victims need to have an exit created to access, then properly stabilize and remove them. If the victim is pinned, then not only do you have to create an access but you will have to remove whatever materials that may be holding them in the vehicle.

You have to remove the vehicle from the victim rather than remove the victim from the vehicle. Determining whether the patient is trapped or pinned determines your next step in the extrication process.

Regardless of the situation, you will have to gain access to the patients so they can be stabilized and emergency medical procedures can be administered. Once the patient is stabilized then they will have to be removed.

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