Rescue Experience Iowa, USA

Nearly 100 firefighters from all over the USA attended the Holmatro Rescue Experience in Iowa. The mix of theoretical input and practical application followed the same program as previous events in Germany, Brazil and China. The Holmatro Rescue Experience is not just about cutting cars; the aim is to promote discussion and share the experience of everyone who attends. There is never one single way to resolve an operational incident and exchanging ideas allows rescuers to look at different options.

Theoretical input

During the morning session Regional Sales Manager Dan Crowbridge updated the attendees on new vehicle technology and in particular talked about construction and passive safety. Vehicles have evolved and Dan highlighted the latest developments which rescuers may face during extrication.


Following this our Rescue Consultant Ian Dunbar talked about kinematics of trauma, which is the process of surveying the scene, identifying the forces involved and understanding the mechanism of injury. This information can then be incorporated into your plan to make the extrication more patient focussed.

Ian then talked about crush injury syndrome which can develop if a person is trapped for a prolonged period of time. This is relevant in building collapse and also in road traffic collisions. It requires a medically supervised release; technical and medical rescuers working closely together.

Practical application


In the afternoon the attendees rotated through four specially designed scenarios:

  • A car underrun with a school bus
  • Simulated building collapse
  • A vehicle on its side where rescuer access was restricted
  • A car versus truck accident

The afternoon session was not only a chance to get hands on tools but more importantly an opportunity to put the theoretical information into practice. Operational issues such as safe working, extrication planning, dynamic decision making and multi-agency collaboration were the learning objectives for the day.

The feedback was wholly positive with many people commenting that the event was a refreshing approach to training, due to the fact that it relied on the input and ideas from the students, all of whom have a lot of knowledge and experience.

Check our Facebook page Holmatro Rescue World for more photos of this Rescue Experience.