In 1995 the Butte County Fire Department Vehicle Extrication Group was formed. It's main objective was to increase a crash victims chance of survival by decreasing the amount of time in extricating the patient from the vehicle, thus preserving more time in the "Golden Hour". We believe this has been achieved. The "Golden Hour" concept is that a patient stands the best chance of survival if they can get to the operating room within one hour of the accident.
In order to do that, the extrication group standardized the equipment being used and standardized the actual vehicle extrication procedures. Three levels of vehicle extrication were identified:
- Level I : Basic. This covers vehicle anatomy, safety , use of tools and procedures.
- Level II : Unstable vehicles. This covers vehicles on their sides, on their roofs (nose down/trunk down/pancaked), t-bones, and underides.
- Level III : Covers school buses.
An I.C.S. Type 3 class has been added recently; designed for wildland engines that carry only hand tools.
These courses were taken to the field and open to all fire departments in the county. At present over 1500 students have gone through these classes. The extrication group continues to put on these classes yearly. In addition, the group studies new vehicle construction and design to stay ahead of changes that will affect present extrication procedures. The group also works to develop new techniques and procedures and to advise the department on extrication tool purchases.