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  • Steering wheel covers for undeployed air bags

    I AM LOOKING FOR INFORMATION TO SEE HOW MANY DEPARTMENTS ARE USEING THE STEERING WHEEL COVERS TO PROTECT RESCURES AND VICTIMS FROM LIVE AIR BAGS EVEN AFTER THE BATTERY HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED, OR IF THIS IS A MYTH.

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  • #2
    Our dept uses a Holmatro airbag cover(made of Kevlar cloth material,no metal) on the steering wheel bag during all extrications involving vehicles where the airbags have not deployed. We also keep all personel at least 10 inches from a driver side air bag and at least 20 inches from a passenger side airbag whenever working in the vehicle.

    Lt. Tim J.Helms
    Freedom,Wi. Fire Dept.

    [This message has been edited by TJHELMS (edited May 17, 2000).]

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    • #3
      There has been some previous discussions on this topic here. Do some digging and I think you'll be able to find them. Pretty much the common concern was what happens if you don't get the device installed just right and you have a deployment. Which is more of a hazard, the deploying air bag, or the piece of steel you put in front of it?

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      Richard Nester
      Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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      • #4
        MetalMedic is correct....metal in front of an undeployed bag? Not an option I would consider. I'm sure bag covers seemed like a good idea a while ago, but thanks to fourms like this, we now know more. If it were to work correctly, that would only take care of the steering wheel bag. What about the other 5 or more bags? Can't cover them all.
        Ron Moore wrote an article about this a few years ago, I believe I first saw it on the TERC (terc.org) page.
        Maybe Ron could give us a link to his article about airbag restraints.
        There were a few folks in my department that considered buying this type of device, but after showing them Ron's article, we invested that money elsewhere.
        Good luck in your research!

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        • #5
          Airbag safety comes down to knowledge. Cars are getting more and more technilogical and Volunteers and Paid staff are getting more and moreinformation to remember. My company takes a yearly trek to the local dealerships and spends 1 night at each looking at the safety aspects of all such as Kia's new knee bags or BMW's pretensioning systems. You might be able to cover the steering wheel bag bu that is only one of many thgings you need to look out for in these new vehicles. My sugestion is to take the time and effort and check these out then make a descission on wether or not you need a cover.

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          The views expressed here are my views and may not be the same views expressed by the orginization I am a member of.

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          • #6
            I believe that if you go check out www.extrication.com that you will find that the guys over there (ROn Moore, Ron Shaw and Billy Leach) all believe that putting something in front of the bag is a bad idea. Especially what metalmedic said, that cover comes off and you've got a poosible fatality on you're hands.

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            • #7
              Airbag manufacturers say that you should not try to restrain any airbag, and if you do try then you are held liable.

              I think of all the systems the holmatro bag type is the best, if it did fail a cloth type bag is the projectile, in a worst case scenario the strap and buckle would become projectiles.

              In the case of the metal type, if the steering wheel is deformed and the device is not installed properly, then we have a large metal object flying through the car.

              I agree with the other posts, observe the 5-10-20 rule,and hopefully everyone will stay safe.

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              • #8
                AFD23
                If I were you i would use my head a little on this one. Remember, when you put one of these covers over the steering wheel air bag you are trying to restrain something that was not meant to be restrained! To me is like trying to hold in a live grenade.
                I have also heard the rumors about the steering wheel being either deformed or completely removed when a bag is deployed behind and improperly installed restraint device. I guess the decision is up to you but, don't act hastily. Think it through. I believe that your money could be used better elsewhere and that you must "continually" update your knowledge of the hazards that surround todays newer vehicles. Training will save lives; yours included.

                Bill Spirka, Capt.

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                • #9
                  Spirk brings up a good point... where can you best invest your money? I would bet that in a few years, there will be better technologies out there on both the bags themselve and how to deal with their hazards. The cover you buy now could be obsolete in a few years. While the current model cars will be out there for a long time, we don't worry too much about fuel tanks in the dash boards anymore, but there are still cars on the road that have them located there. Training is the solution to that problem, and I feel the same way about airbags.

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                  Richard Nester
                  Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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                  • #10
                    We too, have the Holmatro steering wheel cover, but whether or not you have these, in a situation like this, your main goal is Rapid Extrication. I recently attended a PHTLS (Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support) class, and the focus was on rapidly extricationg the pt. (Of course, "rapid" is not always an option.) But by rapidly extricating, you can prevent further injury to pt, or possiblt inury to self or fellow firefighters. If you have the chance, I recommend PHTLS class.

                    Take care & be safe!
                    tigger

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                    Pull to the Right for Sirens & Lights!

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                    • #11
                      Our department uses the LUKAS Rescue version called the Air Bag Safe. It is made of Kevlar, and has been tested to over 20 deployments before any fraying occured. If a Bag dose deploy the manufacturor recommends replacement.

                      As with the Holmatro bag, the air bag safe dose not have any metal parts other than a small buckle that is used to hold the strap around a steering wheel.

                      Lukas also is developeing a larger bag for use in Semi trucks which are going to be coming out with air bags as well.

                      Check out www.lukas.com for more info

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                      • #12
                        Those of you that know Mike Schmidt (aka ZMAG, [email protected]), inquire of him about steering wheel he has off a late model Buick when it was used in an airbag restraint demo. How the new hollow core steering wheel failed by braking durring the demo. Remembering this was a Steering wheel that HAD NOT been involved in and accident, Just there for a demo. I truly question the false sence of security that any of these devices provide and I am especially leary of any one the uses more than mere fabric to subdue that force. If any of you are Hunters , I equate using one of these to blocking the barrel of a shot gun, the "Bang" has got to go somewhere. Think about that before you purchase one of these devices.

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                        Carl D. Avery

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