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  • Hydraulic piston dangers

    I need help finding articles or information about vehicle hydraulic piston dangers. Anything about why you should avoid cutting them during an extrication call or the dangers when they explode from a car fire. If anyone has any information or personal experience with them exploding or cutting them please let me know. In my vollie house this past week a "senior" man directed me to cut one open so it wouldn't rupture during a car fire demonstration. I told him he was crazy and refused. He subsequently cut one with a sawzall and it exploded. He still feels he was correct and I need some paperwork or articles about the dangers so I can go tthe the chiefs offcie and have a new SOP written. I remember a few years ago a firefighter caught one in his leg during a car fire. Any information like that is greatly appreciated. Stay safe, stay low.

  • #2
    He subsequently cut one with a sawzall and it exploded. He still feels he was correct

    ROFLMAO...

    Can't help you with references, but I can say learned-from-the-school of experience anytime I come across something under pressure that needs to be released, I look for a screw fitting or something that can let the pressure out, what's that word, s-l-o-w-l-y.

    Heck if you can't avoid breaching the structure for some reason, at least use the smallest drill bit that'll work -- round holes are much stronger than jagged saw cuts, and easier to slap a towel over to keep down the spray.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

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    • #3
      Ron Moore has an a brilliant powerpoint presentation on the struts in cars and the dangers during fires and extrication.

      Ron, do you want to share some of your info on the forums?
      Luke

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      • #4
        He subsequently cut one with a sawzall and it exploded.
        Further to my last post, can anyone spell L-O-S-E-R?

        Or how about L.O.D.D.?
        Luke

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        • #5
          Originally posted by drkblram
          While I haven't worked with that many models of hydaulic struts, the ones I have can be removed in one piece relatively easy and quickly, (just ask the tree that I backed into and hyperextended the rear glass window on my previous vehicle, and popped both struts off the brackets.) If not remove, sawzall the mounting brackets, not the strut!
          While I hate to admit this, I'd have to confirm this via first hand experience also. Though, it was a light pole in an otherwise "uninhabited" parking lot.




          Count this as a vote for cutting the material around the strut, or its mounting. I don't want to say "never," but we "highly discourage" cutting them.
          God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
          Google Is Your Friend™Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
          Click this to search FH Forums!

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          • #6
            ughh -- can anyone say 'potential energy' -- if you cut the strut support while it is under load... it will extend to maximum extension.

            This has severe accident potential.

            I wish I knoew of a solution to the problem. But I don't think it is cutting the support.

            just my .02
            Marc

            "In Omnia Paratus"

            Member - IACOJ
            "Got Crust?"

            -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

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            • #7
              Neighboring Company had a car fire several years ago involving a 90-something Roadmaster. A FF was walking across the front of the vehicle probably 20-25 feet away from it. One of the hood struts cooked off and turned into a FF-seeking missle. The strut went through the radiator, grill, and fortunately had lost most of its energy by the time it hit the FF in the leg. He had the sh*t scared out of him and a decent bruise on his thigh, fortunately that was all. Struts are nothing to fool with.
              In Arduis Fidelis
              Faithful in Adversity

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              • #8
                Many thanks

                Thanks for all that have been responding. I appreciate it. Now if anyone knows of actual articles I can show this fool it would be even better.

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                • #9
                  If you cut a hatch strut the hydralic oil can be atomized and fill the passenger compartment with a fine mist of oil(you can figure it out from there). There are a few ways to work around them without cutting them. Like FFMcDonald said 'potential energy' stay away.
                  If you can extend the strut(by lifting the hatch) then make your rear post cuts and remove the roof and hatch together.
                  Remember to look closly at rear glass-the struts may be attached directly to the glass-if you break it without lifting the glass you release the stored energy.

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