“It could have been me” – how a life-saving emergency splint came to be  

Former Finnish Defence Forces major Mika Tyry realized during basic training that a crucial product for emergency immobilization did not exist. What is worse, this puts soldiers in unnecessary danger. This is the story of how he and Dassiet created the product that was missing: The UNO emergency splint.

It was a basic training scenario. A situation any soldier could face in the line of duty. An explosive had gone off. The explosives team secured the area, and the medical team rushed to evacuate the injured from the armored vehicle.   

Armored vehicles are sturdy: they cannot be cut like civilian cars. The medical team must work fast in a confined space. In a real-life situation, they might be under gunfire or other threats. The team must extract the injured from the vehicle and retreat to safety quickly. 

Tyry knows the dangers of military life. He has over 30 years of experience in foreign operations in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and others. When he started his career in 1996, Tyry worked as a bomb technician in improvised explosives device disposal.  

Though he is retired from active duty as an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) specialist, Tyry still trains troops that Finland sends abroad. During one basic training exercise, he watched as the medical team moved the injured from the vehicle without immobilizing them. After the training exercise, he said to the team leader who was responsible for the training: 

 “I realized the medical team had not immobilized the evacuated personnel properly. So, I asked my combat medic, who had been with me on several missions, why that was”, Tyry recounts. “He told me the equipment to do so doesn’t exist. I was furious. It is such a basic need. The situation could have happened to myself or my friend on any mission.”  

Searching for the missing piece  

After returning home from training, Tyry searched the web for a product that would suit emergency immobilization in challenging conditions. His suspicions were confirmed – no such products existed.  

“We live in the 21st century. The combat medic told me they would have probably used ski poles for lower limb injuries to immobilize them”, Tyry recalls.  

In his line of work, Tyry is used to improvisation. Immediately after returning home from the training, he put together a splint. It was modular, versatile, easy to use in confined spaces, and able to support almost any body part from neck to ankle.  

From idea to prototype in a matter of days  

On a Thursday, Tyry sent a picture of the improvised splint he had made to Dassiet COO and creative mind Michael Lindroos. He is responsible for the design of many of the company’s products. Lindroos understood right away what the purpose and need for the splint were.  

“He understood the mechanics needed for the splint. More importantly, he understood the impact this product could have”, Tyry says.  

On the following Sunday morning, Lindroos made the first prototype of the product. The design has not changed much since. Most changes were related to the material, which needed to be suitable for use in extreme temperatures – like the cold Finnish winters. Some functional details were also added, such as longer Velcro straps.  

The original plan was to launch the revolutionary product in late Spring 2022. But then the war in Ukraine erupted. Dassiet received a call for humanitarian aid. The company decided to launch the UNO emergency splint early and send a batch to Ukraine.  

Read more: Dassiet sends UNOs to help Ukraine

Designed for the military, adopted by medical professionals and civilians  

Though the product was initially designed with military use in mind, it has grabbed the attention of law officers, first responders, and rescuers – and no wonder. The UNO emergency splint has been built according to strict regulations and requirements. It has a NATO stock number, Class 2-approval, and an NSN code and is FDA and CE approved, among others.   

Tyry confesses he has been surprised by the many possibilities of UNO. There are even situations where the splint could prove handy for everyday people. 

“It’s good for cyclists, survivalists, hikers, and so on. I’d say that it’s not the product that gets you there, but it is the product that gets you out of there”, Tyry says excitedly. 

To protect life and limb  

It is no surprise, that UNO has been received enthusiastically in the field. Customers have praised its usability – the splint is easy to install, take off for adjustments or treating wounds, and put back on. Users have also praised UNO’s versatility.  

But when asked what the most rewarding feedback for him as the inventor of UNO would be, the usually talkative and witty former major becomes serious.  

 “The product was born out of concern for people who now do similar work I used to: military and law officers, first responders. The best reward for me would be to one day receive a call from someone who had their limb or life saved thanks to UNO”, he says.  

Read more about the UNO Emergency Splint

Mika Tyry
Director, EMS