Extrication Device

All there is to know about an extrication device

An extrication device is a tool designed with only one purpose - to evacuate the injured during a traffic collision. Nowadays, it is an essential part of almost every ambulance, medical helicopter, and many types of war, police, and even citizen transport. Its creation is from a dense and durable material that can easily hold the weight of the human body.

Those tools are most often used in pairs with a cervical collar, to prevent any possible complications from the neck or skull base fractures and save the normal functioning of the spinal cord and brain in case of a severe injury. Every paramedic, emergency medical technician, or another authorized person, who enters the vehicle collision area, should know how to use them.

History 

That equipment was not useful, and, generally, there was no need in its existence before the invention of the vehicles. So, the central human creation that led to the appearance of an extrication device was the first car. Karl Friedrich Benz invented the first automobile, which used gasoline to move in 1885 or 1886.

Before the appearance of an extrication device, there were already a few similar tools created. For example, a long spinal board is recommended for injured patients with signs of the neck, skull, and spinal cord traumas since the early 20th century. But that device was not helpful during the extraction of the injured human. It only helped prevent the development of various injuries after removing a patient from the damaged vehicle. That was the main reason for the next research and creation process.

Until the late 70th, the overall vehicle speed increased almost three times, compared with the first created cars. That led to an urgent need to develop new ways to protect the driver and passengers. Seatbelts were improved, and airbags were invented. Car corps became more durable and lighter. At the same time, in 1978, Richard Kendrick developed the extrication device, named after him, and called it Kendrick's.

Indications to use an extrication device

As you already know, the main idea of using those tools is to create the best possible circumstances for the safe extraction of the victims from a damaged car or other vehicles. One of the main rules for non-authorized persons is not to touch the victims until the ambulance, police, or other authorized persons arrive. Three primary rules allow the removal of victims from the car before that, and they are:

  • The victim is blocking access to other victims
  • The state of the victim is extremely unstable
  • The overall scene of the incident is looking unsafe

As already mentioned above, these tools function in combination with a cervical collar, which supports the central life providing structures in the spinal cord and brain. In many cases, using these two tools can prevent the development of various complications and sometimes even save the patient's life. So, according to that fact, among the main indications for the usage of Kendrick's extrication device are:

  • Cervical vertebral fractures and injuries
  • Fractures of the base of the skull
  • Cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord traumas
  • Massive skull and occipital traumas
  • Convulsive attacks
  • And others

This equipment may also be used not only for the removal of the injured people from the crushed vehicle but also as a unique tool for immobilization before the specialized medical help. It is especially useful in the pediatric, and for adults who have small height. Usually, it is used in the cases mentioned above to prevent further complications like spinal shock, fractured vertebrae displacement, general spinal immobilization purposes, etc.

According to the International Commission for Mountain Emergency Medicine official recommendations, this equipment may be used not only when the patient is stabilized in a vertical position (for example, seating on the seat with fastened seatbelt), but also, if the car is upside down, and there is only a narrow crevasse available for an extrication.

Specification of an extrication device

Kendrick's extrication devices from different manufacturers look pretty much the same, so their specifications are also almost similar. For nearly 42 years of the existence of this equipment, it did not change too much. In any case, after a meticulous analysis of the modern market, we discovered ten most important specs regarding those tools. And here is our list of those specifications:

  • Head straps - at least two
  • Carrying case 
  • Height - not less than 1 in
  • Width - nor less than 32 in
  • Weight - not less than 1.68 lb.
  • Length - not less than 33 in
  • Wrap-around vest - included as an option
  • Hip and pelvic splint - inverted, included
  • Fold-back sides - adjustable, included
  • Securing straps - sewn-in, color-coded

It's incredibly essential to remember that each country may have unique specifications for this tool, but mostly they will be matched with the ISO standard.

How an extrication device works

The main working principle of an extrication device is straightforward. At first, the tool operator fixates the victim of the car crash with both hands and slowly conducts the extrication device behind the patient's neck and the thorax. After that, the tool gets fixated on the patient's chest from the front side. Then the patient should be carefully removed from a vehicle. The unique marker should be placed on the upper side of the device to provide the medical practitioner for the next stages of medical help with some information about the patient's condition. There are many educational videos that can help all interested citizens get the proper skill of using an extraction device. Every paramedic, medical practitioner, and other authorized persons know how to use these devices well.

Market leaders

These tools have the same configuration, so it is pretty hard to determine what manufacturers that created the most excellent equipment of that type by the value for money ratio without seeing and the possibility of using it directly. We had to do in-depth research and look for medical practitioners' feedback to create this list of the top creators of extrication devices. Here is what we got as a result:

  • Donny's Consignments DBA
  • GB Medical Ltd
  • PRAISTON
  • STIEHL Medizintechnik
  • Save On Kit
  • GP MEDICAL FRANCE
  • ASAMED LLC
  • BPT MEDICAL LTD

Also, many cheap Chinese devices are selling nowadays worldwide, which are better to avoid in any possible way due to their low quality and possible additional injury to the car crash victims.

Conclusion

An extrication device is beneficial during the extraction of victims of cars and other vehicle crashes. Some research even recommends not to remove those devices until the patient reaches the hospital and gets a radiological examination. They annually help to save the life and health of thousands of people.

In any case, this equipment will probably be replaced soon by some other, more complicated, and more perfect type of a similar tool. All we have to do is to wait. The nearest future will show us everything.

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