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  1. #1
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    Question T.E.R.C. Extrication competitions

    I have been competing in the T.E.R.C. Extrication competitions for four years. I have learned more about extrication watching and competing then I would in a life time of real extrication. This year was my first time as incident command. Now I have a real desire to win.

    I noticed that the teams that win never seem to remove the dummy. Iím starting to think its more about moving metal. You could extricate a horse when there done. Also I think to score well you have to read minds and extricate through the path the judge would.

    I would appreciate any comments.


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    I an a TERC Regional Judge, I'd like to offer some comments on your post. I have been involved with Extrication Competitions Since 1994 and been involved in most aspect of setting up and conducting these events both on a Regional and International Level. I have to agree with you that the Networking and ability to sit "on the other side of the fence" and analyze how and why teams address the Rescue Challenges can be Truly enlightening. Now, in regards to the Judges, TERC works very hard to have it's judges evaluate the effectiveness of the team's actions and organization, Command and Control are Key components of that. It is very hard as a Judge not to see the scenario through your own point of view. I also know several other Judges and we all work hard to avoid any bias bassed solely on how we'd attack the problem. As far as the removal of the entraped person (dummy)TERC, to the best of my knowledge (please remember I am not speaking on behalf of the TERC organization) TERC has strived to keep it's focus on the metal movement part of Extrication. Which I think is a very good reasoning. Moving and removing parts of the Car that cause entrapment is something that recieves very little focus. TERC has been one of the PRIME MOVERS to address this void. So making an opening is what it is all about. Does it have to be "horse size" to make an impression? I would say no, but it does have to be of size and effect that the entraped can be removed in a fashion that would keep their nose, toes and belly button in alignment. TERC will be moving to increase it's focus on BASIC PATIENT CARE too, This years international will feature a move to using Live trained victims (to my last best information)to more thoroughly assess the actions of the rescue teams. Please feel free to check out www.TERC.org for more information on how TERC operates and their goals
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

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    Thank you, Carl Avery for your comments. I didnít want to sound negative about TERC or any of the judges. I think TERC has advance extrication more than any other organization. Iím just frustrated in figuring out what were doing wrong.

    After completing the limited pit with 2:34 time to spare we thought we did great. We removed most of the roof reclined the seat and did a very nice straight out the rear of the car extrication. During the review the judges made what I would call minor comments. Because of the second car being upside down on the dash of the car with the trapped patient, we left both ďAĒ posts and about a foot of roof. We cut across the roof with an air chisel and used a reciprocating saw to cut through the head liner. There was a foot clearance between the blade and the patient and he was covered with a moving blanket. They felt we needed hard protection for the patient. The second comment was we didnít crib one corner of the lower car. The frame was on the pavement. Third, there was soft metal cribbing of the top car but we had a lot of it. The medic lost patient contact when he walked from the driverís window to front of the car to see if he could get a better view.

    Anyways we got sixth out of eight teams. I donít think we should have won or even placed but sixth!!!!!!

    Iíve read the judging criteria several times and they are vague at best.

    Next year were moving metal.

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    I know that there seems to be a lot of hard feelings about who places where at these things and to be honest with you as A Judge I do not always pick the winner. but Also got to say sometimes there are fractions of pionts seperating finishing postitions. Rod Welton of Upstate Extrication Technicians NYSTEAMHD@aol.com uses a spread sheet to tally up the scores, this in and of it self isn't Earth Shaking, but Rod then takes it a Step further, he gives each team a break out of how they scored versus the mean Score, so the can see where there peaks and valleys were/are. IMHO I wish we did not have to do the competition part to get this all to Happen, but truth and Human nature puts us in the position we need to do the Competition thing to Drive the Event!I do help these event continue to evlove poitively!
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

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    In regards to the comment made by Mr. Carl Avery. I have to disagree with the coment that the object of competition is to move metal. The object as I see it is to successfully extricate the victim in as short a period as possible, with safety for the victim and the emergency crew as the most important issue.

    Frankly, if moving metal was so important, don,t use a dummy or a live victim. don,t have a medic, and don,t compete, you can accomplish moving metal in a wrecking yard.

    As such if the case is, that the extrication portion is of prrime importance, Change your name, it seems the TERC name shouldn't mave the Rescue in its handle.

    Another comment made by Carl is that it is very difficult not to judge a scenario based on what "he would do". The previous statement is the greatest issue in auto-extrication competion. It probably will result in the destruction of the competition circuit. It can and does cause inconsistant judging and frustration on the part of the competitors. It will ultimately result in no one competing.

    An additional problem that this creates is that the competitors start playing to the judges. Which can bring back bad habits to their home departments. Because as much as you belive that you are right all the time in auto-ex, you aint.

    As I see it the only way to stop this inconsistancy is to have a score sheet which is set up as either a pass or fail, the competitors either did or did not complete some part of the scenario. No personal evaluation by the judges should be allowed because personalities become involved and pet ways of doing business cause inconsitancy.

    Lastly, I am proud to say that I am chief of a department which has a team who has competed regionally, and internationally. I have watched an cheered them on in these events. But, I see no need to continue to support the team if they are bringing frustration, back as a prize. Why send them out to compete when they will start playing to the judges and these habits translate into real life events.

    In conclusion, if any member of the team brought to the department an attitude that moving metal was the primary function of the responding firefighters, I would fire his/her *** so fast they would have spots before their eyes.

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    Thanks Carl;

    I have been through the TERC web site and have not really seen anything that states the goal or what exactly they want you to accomplish. The only extrication sections are below. But you state it's all about metal movement. The fourth statement "Is the metal relocation necessary to the task? " is in conflict with your statement of it's about moving metal.

    3.6 Metal Relocation
    Are the correct tools used?
    Are cuts made in the correct areas?
    Are tools used effectively?
    Is the metal relocation necessary to the task?
    Is the Incident Commanders plan being followed?
    Are safety factors followed?


    3.8 Path of Egress
    Is the path of egress direct?
    Are all potential hazards dealt with?
    Is the path of egress clear?
    Is the path of egress made to accommodate the patient, not the patient to accommodate the path of egress.



    Without knowing the rules of the game itís hard to win.

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    IMHO I wish we did not have to do the competition part to get this all to Happen, but truth and Human nature puts us in the position we need to do the Competition thing to Drive the Event
    It is truly a shame that the only way people will attend training is because there is a competition.

    Our true competition happens on every call that we must perform extrication. We are competing for someone's life and that is a far better prize than any trophy, placque, award, etc. from a judging panel.

    Learn to train, train to learn, compete for fun!

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    [EDITED]Originally posted by Scott McLeod
    In regards to the comment made by Mr. Carl Avery. I have to disagree with the coment that the object of competition is to move metal. The object as I see it is to successfully extricate the victim in as short a period as possible, with safety for the victim and the emergency crew as the most important issue.

    Another comment made by Carl is that it is very difficult not to judge a scenario based on what "he would do". The previous statement is the greatest issue in auto-extrication competion. It probably will result in the destruction of the competition circuit. It can and does cause inconsistant judging and frustration on the part of the competitors.

    In conclusion, if any member of the team brought to the department an attitude that moving metal was the primary function of the responding firefighters, I would fire his/her *** so fast they would have spots before their eyes.
    Mr Scott McLeod, Sorry you missed my point, When I reffered to moving metal, or better said relocating or removing automotive body components I meant to say the focus of the competition has been and should remain The Safe and Effective Removal of an entraped Person. I agree we are there for the Person or Persons (Be they Mannequins, or real live victims)in volved in the Accident. I just didn't and do not want to see the TERC Events turn into an EMS competition!

    Scott also pointed out that I said that it is difficult not to judge based on what "he would do" I said Difficult, NOT IMPOSIBLE, I was only commenting it is Human nature to look at Problem Solving (and that is what the Extrication Competition boils down to) other than based on the Judges background and experience. Again I am only a regional Judge, But TERC does work Hard to get it's Judges to Examine the teams solution to the problem and NOT based soley on their experiences.

    As for the comment about moving metal attitude would cause termination of one of his employees, Again Scott I think you missed my point. Extrication is a complex and varied event. The Making Space COMPONENT has often been ignored in the ENTIRE COMPLEXITY of an Accident, Making space is a Critical Component and needs the attention EMS and the other components Extrication get, From my Travels around I know EMS responsibilities and standards of care can and do vary from Region to Region, State to State, and Country to Country. With that in mind, that is why I made the moving metal comment. I am sorry if that I mislead anyone into the point of view that it is no more than cranking up the hydraulic spreaders and pushing or pulling metal, IT IS THE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE Extrication of entrapped Person(s) I just do not want to see it become an EMS Event there are plenty of them out there now anyways

    These are my points of view and do not necessarily reflect those of TERC or any of it's members
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

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    Sorry Carl, still can't agree, the object of the game of Auto-ex is to safely, quickly, remove the victim. anything else is playing around like in a dance. If you are being judged on moving metal and not on EMS then the TERC committee is missing the point.

    The object as I see it of the competition is to do the above with skills in the excess of EMS. This does not mean that moving metal is not a componant, but it is not the over-riding test of an efficent team.

    Again it reiterate, if you arn't being judged on all the skills, don't have a medic on the team.

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    Jim,

    I have read your initial statement and had to comment. The other gentlemen bring up several other good points too. I too was a little frustrated at a recent TERC Competition my team was in. I'd like to first comment on your point of NOT "extricating" a victim out of the vehicle during a competition. Out of ten teams at our competition we were the only team to completely remove the victim in both pits (Limited & Unlimited). (We went twenty seconds over the time limit and the other we had 2+ minutes to spare)I was team captain and felt that we should "complete" the evolution by removing the patient both times. Members from our team and other teams could be heard saying. If we do "have to" remove the vicitm why should we. We had "live" vicitms (judges)during our evolutions. I thought this was good for all. This was my first TERC event. I had no idea coming in to this "exactly" what to expect. I have twenty years of Interstate MVA extrication experience with lierally hundreds of wrecks and although this competition was a good time gaining some creative innovative ideas with a good look at all the vendors. I came away a little perplexed. Yes my "team" was put together on short notice and our first "team" practice was the morning competition. I have been doing the same "evolution" for years and years using my extrication benchmarks. We had pre-assigned duties and I knew exactly what was going on at every point in the evolution during the competition. I had my eyes and ears everywhere. The only time I felt I had to say anything more is when I saw something going wrong or leaning toward unsafe. The problem was this. The judges did not know what our evolution was going to be and though everyone was "freelancing" and I (not barking out every little order) had very little control. The evolution was nearly flawless. But we came in eighth place. Next year we have determined we have to compete for the judges opinions and not do our evolutionary process we do on every "real" call. With that in mind as well as having our team practice with the score sheets in hand for next years competition. I know we will have a much higher finish. ( I will continue removing the vicitms) The real score is in the streets where we place the patients first.
    "Making Sense with Common Sense"
    Motor Vehicle Rescue Consultants
    ( MVRC@comcast.net) Jordan Sr.

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    [edited] Originally posted by JW@NB87
    Jim,
    The real score is in the streets where we place the patients first.
    I agree totally, we may all have different Point of View on this but ultimately what this is all about is improving the outcomes for those persons who require our services.
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

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    JW@NB87 you hit the nail on the head. In the real world incident command doesnít bark out every order. Everyone works on a task and command coordinates all the efforts. Our team is now playing that part of the game correctly in the TERC world. Don't misunderstand me, I think the real world needs to meet the TERC world about in the middle. A TERC world would slow the real world down because the IC becomes overloaded. But for saftey the real world needs a little more TERC structure.

    On to scoring!!! The only part of todayís scoring sheet that is objective is the time category. If the patient is removed you should score high, at least I would think so. If the patient is not removed difficulty of extrication needs to be included in the score. Last year we were the only team to remove the patient in the unlimited pit. All the other teams but one scored higher than our score for time.

    I think the scoring system needs to be restructured. I think there is something missing between the judging criteria which I think is good and the score sheet that is filled out. Maybe all the questions on the judging criteria should be answered (poor, acceptable, excellent). Add points for all questions answered excellent and subtract for poor. Notes could be kept during the competition to backup their answers. Each judge would have a section to complete.

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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Carl Avery
    [B]

    I agree totally, we may all have different Point of View on this but ultimately what this is all about is improving the outcomes for those persons who require our services.

    I agree with you Carl, so lets judge the competitions as if the dummy really needed our service, with a score sheet based on reality, not subjective evaluations.

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    Hello all.....
    Well I would like to add my 2 cents, for what its worth. And I will add to this topic as judge who has evaluated events here in north america & abroad, as a team captain who has competed on various levels for 10+ years & won regionally & internationally and as a TERC member, though my opinions are my own.
    The concept of the competition is a venue of learning & subsequent "arena" of demonstrating, to peers, those skills, talents, abilities, and concepts of saving lives at a motor vehicle crash. While demonstrating these traits in a simulated MVC you are evaluated, again by peers, on a set format that covers a wide variety of interaction that should occur at a real world MVC. This set format is supposed to be "scored" by peer evaluators on a set criteria that does allow some personal reflection however it was designed to be limited in scope (personal evaluation wise).

    Is it perfect? Nope. I can tell you this, it has been evolutionary as time has progressed, hand in hand with the competitions themselves. Do teams cater to judges? I am sure that has happened. It's human nature to use the advantages perceived. Does that mean that it works that way? No, I do not believe so. Atleast from the events I have personally judged I can that honestly 110% I have used the set criteria for evaluation at every event I have judged (it's on the TERC website> www.terc.org) But I also have added to this these questions as well. Was it safe? Did it work effectively? to each of the criteria. The team might not have done it the way I would have or my own team would but does that means it was wrong? Nope. If it was indeed safe & worked effectively for them, how can you, to be fair, say thats wrong? The purpose of the post scenario critique to give the team feedback, good, bad or otherwise. Options given are always good to hear, the more tools in your mental toolbox the better the outcomes will be on the street. And honesty is always best.

    Now to add into some of the comments already posted, the view that this is an extrication competition first foremost while fine in the early beginnings of the venue needs to evolve into what has been already stated here- yes an extrication competition but an evaluation on how you handle the entire incident and that includes proper, prompt medical care to an entrapped patient, dummy or simulated victim doesnt matter. We have to keep the logistics of such to ABC & packaging evaluation due to the wide range of medical care encountered both here in north america & abroad. My team competes just like we do it for real, patient care is provided simultanious to rescue activites. Vehicle Rescue is a patient care skill, no?
    Is there problems with judges individually, sure. Human nature dictates this and will it ever go away, well just look at the olympics? Can we try to minimize it? Sure we as a committee have taken a stronger role, providing continuing education for judges, time limits now set on renewal of certification and so on. We are trying and there is no simple fix. If we set critieria as pass or fail, whos standard will we use? What is pass for you, I might fail and vise-versa. And will those standards hold up worldwide & stand the test of time without some sort of revisiting built in? No I dont think so... Have bad "calls" or evaluations been made? I'm sure. Again, human nature plays a role here too. As a team captain, I've had some very "illogical" comments and deductions made in evaluations. Were they personal interpretations? Oh yes...They did not come from TERC set judging criteria.

    Anyway, I will get off my soapbox and leave this final thought:
    In 1988, a group of rescuers from my hometown traveled to our 1st international competition. We were awed by the amount of learning presented just by watching, let alone the interaction amongst rescuers worldwide. So we decided, well if you can get this just from watching, lets try doing it! And we did in 1991. And we havent stopped yet. It took us an average of 30 to 40 minutes to extricate someone back then. In 2000, our average was 10 minutes or less. New tools are there, different training is in place but we would not be there if is was not for going and participating and learning, each and everytime.

    Thanks and be safe!
    Dave Dalrymple- TERC Education Chair
    Be dynamic..or go home!

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    In response to roadwayrsq, He has made many valid points, but to respond to who and what should set the standard, TERC should set the standard and insist the judges follow it.

    They have already set out evaluation sheets, tighten them up, and base them on real world incidents.

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    Here is another two cents from a TERC judge. Like my friends stated above, the following are my opinions and not the offical word of TERC or anyone else. Now with that being said, here I go. When I judge, I judge on what evolution the team did, not what I thought they should have done. Yes, we as judges do like to hear the IC "bark" orders. This way, we understand what their objectives are. We as judges will talk about the "wreck" before the team arrives and discuss what we might want to see them do. It is a learning experience for us as well. Where we get into judging the team on what they didnt do, is more in the stabilization, or personnel safety, or patient safety. Things like were the vehicles stable throughout, did the rescuers wear the proper safety equip, did the rescuers provide the appropriate safety measures for the patient, etc. Yes, most of that is subjective to each judge. However, just like umpiring a baseball game and calling balls/strikes, if the judge is consistant with his scoring throughout the entire comp, then it should all wash out. I have worked with some judges who the teams could never please and wont score any team higher than a 5 or 6. But that is ok as long as that judge is consistant throughout. We as judges do in fact like to see some stuff that we dont do on the street. Remember, judges are not mind readers. As the IC, make sure at least one judge hears you verbalize what plan B and C are. Look at the judges criteria and score sheets. Then you know what the judges are looking for. Now with that said, I can also say that each and every judge has a pet peeve. I have one myself and the other judges I have worked with have theirs as well. Listen to their comments and you will learn what they are. Sometimes you have to play to the judges. Is that right....probably not, but that is the way it is. The real winners here are the communities you protect. Each and every comp I work or attend, I learn something new. Maybe it is a new technique, or maybe a technique that doesnt work. Either way, when you learn, you win.
    Skip Rupert
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    "Keeper of the Rescue Zone"
    rsqzone@hotmail.com

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    Originally posted by skip rupert61
    Now with that said, I can also say that each and every judge has a pet peeve. I have one myself and the other judges I have worked with have theirs as well. Listen to their comments and you will learn what they are. Sometimes you have to play to the judges. Is that right....probably not, but that is the way it is.
    We competed twice this year. In the first competition our medic was hammered because he went in the car and was at an awkward angle (thatís why the medic is a skinny guy). In the second competition we were asked why he didn't go in. What you said is exactly true you need to know what the individual judge is looking for. This doesnít make it fair for the teams who don't travel the country to several events per year.

    The following are just some of the conflicting judging I here.
    If you send the medic in, he should be covered with the patient so he can keep eye contact? Who looks out for the patient and medic if the medic canít see so only cover the patient? The next judge doesnít want the patients head covered. The next says the patient has to be covered so they donít panic. Who moves the hard barriers where they are needed if the medic canít see?

    I donít know what is going to get my team points what will take them away based on the judge. The winner is usually determined by just a few points. So knowing what the individual judge wants, results in the difference between winning and losing.


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    Skip,

    Nice input! Especially from a "judges" standpoint. One of my points is this. I did not know exactly what to expect as an "IC" at the competition. I know now that basically EVERYTHING has to be verbalized (the orders, the communique' between members etc.) I don't "have to" do that on every emergency response. Because of experience, and training and working with these guys all the time. Plus, they know what I expect and I know They Know our evolutions and what is tasks are anticipated on each evolution. The judges didn't know and they needed to hear the orders and plan. I am looking forward to the next competition. Overall it was a fun experience.

    JW
    "Making Sense with Common Sense"
    Motor Vehicle Rescue Consultants
    ( MVRC@comcast.net) Jordan Sr.

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    Now for a totaly differant viewpoint. I have never competed nor have I ever judged. But I have attended about 7-9 comps a year for the past 7-8 years including 7 of the last 9 internationals as a "Tool Supplier" (not a vender). I may have a steak and a few brews with a team the first night and repeat that activity with the judges the following night. I have heard about every complaint and comment that you can imagine and they are ALL valid. First off from the judges viewpoint as Skip stated they can not read minds. We all know that you don't have to tell all of your guys every move, but without some form of communication how can a judge tell if Bubba is doing what the IC wants or "freelancing"? One of the major differances that I see between the top teams and the also rans is the never ending comminication between ALL teams members. Next, the little things, we all know that there are no "barkers" at the Miss America Pagent, but only one wins.(by the way they never asked me to judge that either) A mole can put a hottie right out of the running, we already stated that a few points is usally the spread. A lose or crooked crib stack, a cable come-a-long thats fubar may be all it takes. ............ to be continued later, youngest ones ballgame is calling me away ...............

    Zmag

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    Sorry about the long delay for part 2 but the same storm that canceled the ballgame also took out my server. Then I left for the Tri-State Comp. But I'm back now. .... Anyhow, probably the most frustrating thing for any team is the inconsistancy of the judges. I have heard at least a hundred times that the judges in the one pit loved a technic that was repeated in the other pit the follow day and they got blasted. Also, just this past weekend I know of at least 2 teams that properly used my tools but because one judge was unfamiliar with them he questioned their use and application. I saw both times in question and I saw nothing wrong with their use. This is not intended to slam judges but they need to stick to the prescribed criteria and judge what is DONE and not what they feel should have been done. I know that TERC has standards and requirements for judging, the judges need to follow these and not their own. It is no differant them a baseball umpire, the strike zone should not change due to the color of the batters uniform, and a strike in the first inning should also be a strike in the 9th inning.

    Zmag

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