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Extrication "Quick Tip" #43 (Tunnel or Cracked Eggs?)

When it comes to extrication, there are as many techniques as you can possibly think of, each with a fancier name than the next. This week’s quick tip is covering tunneling vs. cracking the egg. In both situations, the vehicle is roof resting and you will have extremely limited access to the vehicle sides. The better technique is all in personal opinion. Through extensive training on both I have chosen what works best for me and here is why.  

Tunneling is the method that allows rear access through the trunk. Typically by removing the rear trunk pan and making a “tunnel” to the patient by removing rear seats, front seat backs, etc. Rams/spreaders can be used while moving forward to make extra occupiable space. It can be labor intensive but does not take a ton of extra technical training. There isn’t much for vehicle movement or an excess of stabilization needed.


Cracking the egg is a method to make more space to access and remove occupants. The picture above shows this technique. Now remember this movement has limitations is not set for full frame vehicles. Some firefighters state that it is a quick movement, however when the steps are done in realistic training with no side access (popping rear nader pins from inside the vehicle, making all necessary lifts and cuts from the top of the vehicle, correct stabilization, etc.) the method has been anything but “quick”. Once the movement is complete, we still have the front seatbacks that will need to be reclined (if you are lucky) or cut to make access to patients. Also in live training, once the vehicles back half is lifted, we have had issues with fuel pouring down into the occupant area when the fuel tank has been left on the vehicle. There have also been stability issues, depending on the depth of the cuts in the rear rocker area.

The methods you use are totally up to you. Don’t just take my word on it. Get out there and train on each method REALISTICALLY!  Once again, this is just my personal opinion. However, after thousands of hours of training, at 2am when there is limited to no side access, tunneling will be my first method of choice.

ISAAC FRAZIER is a Special Operations Lieutenant with St. Johns County Florida’s Heavy Rescue “Squad 4”. First due to the deadliest stretch of roadway in the nation, Frazier teaches from personal street experience providing tried and true tactics. Frazier is the owner of Tactical Advantage Training and creator of the course Tactical Extrication. Frazier travels nationally sharing his passion teaching fire and extrication courses. Frazier is a FDIC instructor, Fire Engineering Contributor, Fire Officer II, FL Paramedic, Special Operations Officer, Florida State Instructor, FLUSAR Tech, Diver, and FL Hazmat Tech.

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