We asked readers to throw off the constraints of money and physics and tell us what improvements they want to see in extrication tools. We asked them to dream of a day they weren't tethered to heavy, unwieldy cutters; noisy, underpowered spreaders; and wobbly stabilizers. And dream they did. Here are 15 of our favorite suggestions — many of which we hope to see in the near future.
Whether it is something as seemingly impossible as a Star Trek teleporter or simply a lighter jaw, there's no shortage of suggested improvements
"More boron cutting capabilities, light-weight, self-contained system." — Darren Boyer
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"Cutters that can round the end of the metals that we just cut. This way responders and patients don't get cut on the jagged edges." — Thomas Donofrio
"Lighter tools with a lot more power." — Chris Chasteen
"I would like to see straps to go around your shoulders. That way we aren't always holding them with our hands and wasting time to reposition our hands." — Matt Barhum
"How about laser cutters." — Ed Thibault
"Cohesive aerosol spray to act as a glass containment system. Portable micro-vibration cutter capable of quickly cutting laminated boron steel without risk of burns or ignition. Expanding aerogel foam for rapid in-place vehicle support and stabilization." — Harold Zwanepol
"More training made available to rural departments. Lower prices." — William Hill
"A computer and camera that automatically takes a picture of the vehicle upon arrival. The computer provides schematics to help cut it up; tells you where the airbags are and extrication strategies." — Alex Litchfield
"Star Trek style transporter." — Jason Hoffman
"All tool manufacturers to use common connections, fluid and a standard for control locations, and lighting on tools." — Michael Bohnenkamp
"A force field to hold back water, dirt or dampen fire. Other than that, an easily portable loading ramp that could be telescoped out (say 30 feet or so) right to the vehicle so the patient could be extricated, placed on the ramp and moved to the ambulance. They would not have to be hand carried up and down ditches and jostled to get them to the ambulance." — Linda Dee Rooney-Card
"A device we can plug in upon arrival to an accident that kills the airbag system." — Norman Ray Langwell Jr.
"Backboards that fold into a sitting position and straighten as you remove the seated patient and lock straight. The KED takes too long and does not work for every size and shape patient." — Jenn Warner
"A water jet cutter that can be used around patients." — Daniel Smith
"A razor wire type cutting device that wraps around the steering column, tightens and cuts straight through the column." — Kyle Weisenberger