July 7, 2021

Safety critical updates made to Advanced Rescue Training Standard

Training providers are encouraged to update their procedures and lesson plans, following a safety critical change to the ART and ART (Refresher) Standards

The GWO Advanced Rescue training standard has been updated following input from GWO members and SMEs who raised concerns over the descriptions of the use of "spine boards", plus a trio of other clarifications.

Certified training providers are encouraged to immediately update their lesson plans to reflect the following changes

From spine board to transfer board – a change in wording.

The term “Spine Board” leads to more misunderstandings than intended – a key reason behind these misunderstandings is that a spine board is designed for immobilization of an injured party with a trauma, but that is not the intended use of a spine board in the ART and ART-R standards.

Rather, the intended use of the “Transfer board” / “Spine Board” in the two standards is not for immobilization, but to transport an injured person. Therefore, it was agreed to change the term throughout both standards from “Spine Board” to “Transfer Board” and add a definition of “Transfer Board” in the terms and definitions section of the two standards.

The definition of transfer board will read: “A tool that is used to transport the injured person and is not to be used for immobilization. Examples of a transfer board are a spine board, extraction board, spec pak, half board, half stretcher….”
Added emphasis on the horizontal lowering of an injured person, whenever possible

A second concern was raised in connection with packaging an injured person on a spine board in a vertical configuration. Here, it was agreed to add a note to a suitable amount of the 12 applicable aims and objectives throughout the ART & ART-R standards.

The note will read: “whenever possible, an injured person should be lowered in a horizontal configuration” to emphasize this as the preferred option and an injured person should only be lowered in a vertical configuration as a last resort."
Clarification regarding attachment points

A note has been added to a suitable amount of the 14 applicable aims and objectives throughout the ART & ART-R standards specifying that “the injured person must always be attached to an approved attachment point”.

Seeking medical advice before securing an injured person to a transfer board

A note has been added to a suitable amount of the 12 instances, where fitting a harness onto an unconscious person is described in ART & ART-R standards.

The note will read “If possible, medical advice according to the site emergency response plan should be sought before securing an IP to a transfer board”. This note will thereby cover all bases as the site emergency response plan will tell the rescuer where to seek medical advice.