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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-227X-14-14) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation (NAAF) employs all authors, provides TAS courses free of charge and finances the National Championships in RE. We have no financial interest, only an intellectual interest in disseminating information about TAS courses and the RE method.
SF, ASJ, JEA, TV and MR participated in the design of the study. TO and JEA performed data collection from the fire stations in Norway. JEA arranged the National Championship. SF and ASJ performed data collection at the National Championship. SF and ASJ performed data analysis. All authors participated in the writing of the manuscript and approved the final version.
Road traffic injury (RTI) is a global problem causing some 1,2 million deaths annually and another 20–50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries. Pre-hospital entrapment is a risk factor for complications and delays transport to the hospital. The Rapid Extrication (RE) method combines winching and cutting of both front poles and utilising two larger vehicles to pull car wreckage apart to extricate patients. A previous study indicates that RE is an efficient alternative to previously existing methods.
All Fire Departments in Norway were questioned on: background, frequency of training, use and implementation of the method, protocol and equipment. Times used for extrication from motor vehicle wreckage were measured at the National Championship in RE. Questionnaires presented to participants asked about frequency of training, inter-disciplinary cooperation and self-perceived safety for both providers and patients on a 1–7 Likert scale (1 - worst and 7 - best).
Participating Fire Departments use RE in 95% of cases on passenger cars and 77% of cases on larger vehicles. Teams participating in the National Championship scored self-perceived security of crew as median 7 and IQR (6, 7), patient safety 7 (6, 7), communication between personnel 7 (6, 7), teamwork 7 (6, 7), and how well the technique functioned 7 (6, 7).
All teams had extricated and transported the patient into the ambulance within 20 minutes.
Interdisciplinary and regular training of RE can lead to safe extrication of a critically injured patient in less than 20 minutes and may be life saving.