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The stages of extrication: a prospective study
  1. Tim Nutbeam1,
  2. Rob Fenwick2,
  3. Charles Hobson3,
  4. Vikki Holland4,
  5. Michael Palmer5
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon, UK
  2. 2Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, UK
  3. 3West Midlands Fire Service, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4Integrated Risk Management, West Midlands Fire Service, Birmingham, UK
  5. 5Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tim Nutbeam, Department of Emergency Medicine, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth DL6 8DH, UK; timnutbeam{at}


Background Many patients will require extrication following a motor vehicle collision (MVC). Little information exists on the time taken for the various stages of extrication.

Objective To report the time taken for the various stages of extrication.

Methods A prospective, observational study carried out in the West Midland Fire Service's metropolitan area. Time points related to extrication were collected ‘live’ by two-way radio broadcast. Any missing data were actively gathered by fire control within 1 h of completion of extrication. This paper reports an interim analysis conducted after 1 year of data collection following a 3-month run-in and training period: data were analysed from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011 inclusive.

Results During the study period 228 incidents were identified. Seventy-nine were excluded as they met the predetermined exclusion criteria or had incomplete data collection. This left 158 extrications that were suitable for analysis. The median time for extrication was 30 min, IQR 24–38 min.

Conclusions In patients requiring extrication following an MVC a median time of 8 min is typically required before initial limited patient assessment and intervention. A further 22 min is typically required before full extrication. Prehospital personnel should be aware of these times when planning their approach to a trapped patient.

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