Oslo government district bombing and Utøya island shooting July 22, 2011: the immediate prehospital emergency medical service response

Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2012 Jan 26:20:3. doi: 10.1186/1757-7241-20-3.


Background: On July 22, 2011, a single perpetrator killed 77 people in a car bomb attack and a shooting spree incident in Norway. This article describes the emergency medical service (EMS) response elicited by the two incidents.

Methods: A retrospective and observational study was conducted based on data from the EMS systems involved and the public domain. The study was approved by the Data Protection Official and was defined as a quality improvement project.

Results: We describe the timeline and logistics of the EMS response, focusing on alarm, dispatch, initial response, triage and evacuation. The scenes in the Oslo government district and at Utøya island are described separately.

Conclusions: Many EMS units were activated and effectively used despite the occurrence of two geographically separate incidents within a short time frame. Important lessons were learned regarding triage and evacuation, patient flow and communication, the use of and need for emergency equipment and the coordination of helicopter EMS.

MeSH terms

  • Bombs*
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Firearms*
  • Geography
  • Government
  • Humans
  • Mass Casualty Incidents*
  • Norway
  • Transportation of Patients
  • Triage
  • Wounds, Gunshot / therapy