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Snowblower Entrapment Preparation

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  • Snowblower Entrapment Preparation

    A question from the MembersZone gives us all the opportunity to think about unique winter extrication possibilities. The original question from a Massachusetts fire officer is about snowblower entrapment;

    "I’m interested in doing some training at my Dept before the snow flies. I’m working on getting some old machines to cut up. Can you point me in the direction of any information / training resources specific to that subject? I’ve searched the internet pretty well. I usually find something already posted somewhere. I’m interested in info about the dynamics of removing a trapped digit, hand, arm etc. We had a woman about 10 years back who got her hand caught and dragged the machine 50’ to a neighbors house to get help. Any thoughts would be of help."

    My Reply:
    I've lost my edge on snowblower entrapments since I've moved to Texas. The tactics that I trained on when I was in NY State was machinery familiarization and disassembly techniques.

    You'll have to work out sort of a flow chart to consider when arriving at an incident. Train on old, junk machines that you get from an outdoor lawn mower-type business. They seem to typically have scrap machines lying around.

    With safety being first, train on various machines so you can do a Lock Out/Tag Out process when you arrive at a real scene. Stabilize the machine so it and your patient don't move or shift unexpectedly. Next, you have to shut down the power source. If it is a gas engine driving a snowblower for example, then also pull the spark plug. That way, there is no compression in the cylinders that might cause the machine to turn over one revolution suddenly as you're working on it.

    With a gas engine unit, identify and protect everyone from heat sources such as the engine block or the exhaust.

    Check for power drive method. If a chain drive, then that may be a good attack point. If gear drive, then get to the cogs and consider disassembly.

    Train on backing the appendage of your patient out opposite the direction it went in. Work out techniques to move a component like an auger or drive shaft backwards manually. Practice with tools to see the various ways that this could be accomplished with different snow removal machines.

    Also, during your training on junk machines, practice cutting techniques. Get good at sawing by hand, by electric sawzall, air chisel, and even power cutters. Get familiar with the pros and cons of each technique so you can apply the best method at your Real World incident.

    I also recommend studying brand new machines at a dealership. Look at a modern machine to see what new technologies are on these new generation units.

    In addition, research statistics on these types of injuries or deaths. Then your department could do a mock response scenario with a mannequin for the local news media to videotape and do a story on. Make it look good and do it as a proactive safety message from your department to your citizens to maybe prevent someone from being stupid.

    Also don't forget a safety message to the highway department guys. They are the ones who work the horribly long hours during the winter and might do that wrong thing or reach in the wrong place because they are so fatigued.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

  • #2
    EMS Magazine article on actual snowblower extrication case study;

    HTML Code:
    http://www.emsworld.com/print/EMS-World/Trapped-in-a-Snow-Blower/1$15161
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Heres a little Good news (a little).The newer blowers are made of lighter weight material than the blowers of old.So sometimes you can bend the metal away as opposed to cutting which by my experience the "customer" doesn't enjoy. An air powered hacksaw can come in handy. Some wood wedges are also useful. T.C.

      Comment

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