Light Motor Vehicle Rescue

Aims of the Course

To equip students with skills required to use specialized equipment in order to extricate a patient out of a vehicle. Identify and describe each major category of safety hazards related to a vehicle rescue incident. Validate for all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that should be used by operational personnel at a vehicle rescue incident and the safety considerations associated with each major hazard.

Course Duration

This Light Motor Vehicle Rescue module should provide the student with the necessary knowledge and skills that will act as a foundation for search and rescue operations that you may be required to perform. Local Rescue Authorities, Fire Departments, Departments of Defence, Emergency Medical Services, etc. may be able to provide information on Light Motor Vehicle Rescue training, practice, and equipment, and organizations that are actively looking for members to employ within their organization. The course will take between 2 to 3 weeks to complete, detailed course content and schedule will be provided to student. The course will include theory in a classroom setting and practical session which will be will be done within and outside the college premises.

Course Description

Vehicle extrication is the process of removing a vehicle from around a person who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, when conventional means of exit are impossible or inadvisable. A delicate approach is needed to minimize injury to the victim during the extrication. This operation is typically accomplished by using chocks and bracing for stabilization and hydraulic tools, including the Jaws of Life

The basic extrication process consists of, but is not limited to, six steps:

  • The protection of the accident scene, to avoid a risk of another collision
  • Patient triage and initial medical assessment of the patient by a qualified medical rescuer;
  • Securing the vehicle to prevent the unexpected movement and the movements of the suspension, either of which could cause an unstable trauma wound or cause injury to the rescuers, a vehicle should never be moved it should always be secured.
  • The opening of the vehicle and the deformation of the structure (such as removing a window) to allow the intervention of a first responder or paramedic  inside the vehicle to better assess the patient and begin care and also to release a possible pressure on the casualty;
  • Removal of a section of the vehicle (usually the roof or door) to allow for safe removal of the accident victim, especially respecting the head-neck-back axis (rectitude of the spine)
  • Removal of the person from the vehicle

After the vehicle has been secured and access gained to the patient, the EMS team then enters to perform more detailed medical care. Continued protection of the patient from extrication itself, using hard and soft protection, should be done at all times. The deformation of the structure and the section of the roof take several minutes; this pre-extrication time can be used for medical or paramedical acts such as intubation or placing an intravenous drip. When the casualty is in cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be performed during the freeing, the casualty being seated. The last step is usually performed with a long spine board: the casualty is pulled up on it. An extrication splint (KED) can help to immobilise the spine during this operation.

Extrication must be done by certified individuals, and as such, many Rescue teams are run by Emergency medical services departments. In major cities, where fire departments have firefighting/Emergency medical technicians, fire departments can run rescue. There are some departments that are a combination of Fire/EMS, Police/EMS or Rescue/EMS, but the concept is that most organizations that run Rescue have some sort of EMS division or EMT training. As such, Extrications are handled in many ways:

  • Some are by run completely by one organization, such as strictly by an EMS department.
  • Some are a run by a combination department that runs ambulances and fire trucks.
  • Some departments run just a heavy rescue truck.
  • Some departments also might only handle light rescue and door pops, leaving the more complicated rescue and heavy rescue dedicated to a heavy rescue unit.
  • Some departments only carry with them minimal tools such as one set of Jaws of Life and are only capable of simply "popping" a door off and then must step away to allow the medical rescuers in or to allow a more dedicated heavy rescue team in who has more equipment.

Extrication units are supposed to not only have many different kinds of extrication tools, but medical equipment, oxygen, and backboards as well. Extrication is the entire process from fire protection, power unit disengagement, vehicle security, patient security and treatment, removal of vehicle from patient, removal of patient, and transfer to ambulance. Extrication is not just simply popping a door off.