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Auto Extrication and Airbags

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  • Auto Extrication and Airbags

    How does your department handle extrication involving vehicles equipped with airbags. I know that cutting the battery cable isn't always good enough. Anyway, I was just curious.

  • #2
    We use the Holmatro yellow bag. Have yet to use it, but have read some things about it. Also i have heard people talk about stabbing through the leather/vinyl to put holes in the bag in case it tried to deploy it would not be able to inflate. But wouldnt this release the gases used to inflate out of the holes and into you and your patients face. And if im not mistake, these gases are around 2200 degrees F.

    ------------------
    Captain James Collier
    McMahan Fire Rescue
    KCTCS Area 6 Instructor

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    • #3
      There has been a lot of discussion on this in the University of Extrication forum. Basically, you always treat an undeployed airbag as if it will deploy. Keep clear of it and NEVER put anything between it and your patient. Disconnect the battery, but keep in mind that there could be a 20+ minute discharge time for the capacitors that operate the device.

      [This message has been edited by Engine69 (edited 05-20-2001).]

      [This message has been edited by Engine69 (edited 05-20-2001).]

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      • #4
        Did I read or hear somewhere about disconnecting both battery cables and then touching the two ends together for 30 seconds to discharge the capacitors? Does that really work?

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        • #5
          Just had an extrication class and yes, take both cables off (with a wrench-you may need them)but before that, take a little shaving cream and coat the terminals and connectors to keep the sparks from any spilled fuel. Hold the terminals together for at least 30 seconds as said previously. Also, remember the 5/10/20 rule..... 5 inches away from the side pannel airbags, 10 inches away from the steering wheel bag, and 20 inches from the passenger side air bag. Good luck!!

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          • #6
            Um, our dept. is in the process of buying a set of Holmatro extrication tools. There is a really cool video that Holmatro has put out concerning these situations, along with a book of different kinds of cars and the dangers present in extrication with each. I would definitely recommend EVERYONE seeing it if they can, though, I'm not sure how to get a hold of it. I have no idea where the chief got our video. At first it seems like a sales gimmick, but it's not. Again, great video, very informative.
            ~Courtney

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            • #7
              The same here for me as Engine 69. Disconnect the battery terminals, and don't wedge yourself between the patient and the airbag. (But of course according to vehicle manufacturers this doesn't happen) While this isn't always possible depending on the situation/mech. of injury, the least amount of time between it should always be attempted. While I'm glad to see that there are pieces of equipment on the market to deal with this problem/situation, I also feel that it, at times, is overkill. Has anyone seen any statistics of how often this actually occurs. And if it does, how many of us/EMS, or anyone else have been injured. We all have seen the video, and it raised awareness, but how many more have happened?

              --------------------------------------------
              The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

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