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Emergency Medical Services Response to a Major Freeway Bridge Collapse

  • John L. Hick, Jeffrey D. Ho, William G. Heegaard, Douglas D. Brunette, Anne Lapine, Tom Ward and Joseph E. Clinton...

Background: The Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River on August 1, 2007, killing 13 people and injuring 127.

Methods: This article describes the emergency medical services response to this incident.

Results/Discussion: Complexities of the event included difficult patient access, multiple sectors of operation, and multiple mutual-aid agencies. Patient evacuation and transportation was rapid, with the collapse zone cleared of victims 95 minutes after the initial 9-1-1 call. A common regional emergency medical service incident management plan that was exercised was critical to the success of the response.

Conclusions: Communication and patient tracking difficulties could be improved in future responses. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2008;2(Suppl 1):S17–S24)

Corresponding author
Address correspondence to John L. Hick, MD, Emergency Medicine 825, Hennepin County Medical Center, 701 Park Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415(e-mail:
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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
  • URL: /core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness
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