Company Level Training: Improving Extrication Techniques

This article focuses on the skills needed to perform basic extrication work and have a thorough understanding of vehicles.


Part two involves the removal of glass and doors. Make sure that all personnel are wearing all personal protective equipment (PPE) including eye protection either in the form of goggles or face shields. When removing any side or rear glass, use some type of tape product (we use duck tape) in the shape of an X before breaking glass. This will cause the glass to come out in one piece instead of a heap of small shards. Always announce to everyone around when you are breaking glass. The front windshield can be removed by using an axe, hacksaw or a tool specifically designed for cutting windshield glass.

Any door can be attacked either from the hinge side or the Nader pin side. The method that you use will be decided by the nature and positioning of the wreck, the technique required and/or the rescuers preferred method of door removal. Popping a single door from the Nader pin side may be all that is required. A more advanced technique like a total side blowout may be necessary.

Part three is roof removal. The two primary methods are total roof removal and flapping the roof. Click here for an in-depth look at these two methods. Again, the situation and/or the preferred technique will indicate which method is used. Communication between crewmembers is critical during this step. A roof can easily come down on patient and rescuers if the removal or flapping is not coordinated properly. Once the roof is removed or flapped, assign one person to secure the sharp edges of the remaining posts by either wrapping them in tape or placing a cut-off piece of supply line over them.

Part four is dealing with dash displacement. The two methods are jacking the dash and rolling the dash. I always remember the difference between the two this way: Rolling the dash goes with the Rams; Jacking the dash goes with the Jaws. Click here for an in-depth look at these two methods.

I did not cover patient care in this article because I want to focus on the tactical skills.

That is a basic overview of extrication. When training for the first time with your crew, or if you have new members training with your crew for the first time, make sure to go over these basic steps with them not only in discussion form but also in a hands-on setting. Let crew members that have been through the training before teach and shadow younger crew members as an instructor. This will add a new dimension to their training. As your crew trains together more on this subject, you can get progressively more in-depth with them by adding new twist to scenario's and by requiring them to use different, more advanced techniques. Make sure that you always cover the basics so that your foundation for extrication is always solid.

Please send any ideas for future training drills, or suggested improvements and variations on this drill, to my e-mail: manascl@firehousezone.com. You and your department will receive credit for any ideas used in future articles.

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LARRY MANASCO, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a captain with the Fort Worth, TX, Fire Department. He was an assistant instructor for FDNY Battalion Chief Salka's "Get Out Alive" hands-on training class. He has participated in the Training & Tactics Talks podcasts on Radio@Firehouse.com. To read Larry's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. You can reach Larry by e-mail at manascl@firehousezone.com.