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Vehicle Safety Dta Sheets

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  • Vehicle Safety Dta Sheets

    This may be old news, but...

    Some time back there was some discussion of the creation of vehicle safety
    data sheets similar to the MSDS system. I believe this was on this extrication forum.

    In any case, I was picking up a new spreader from our Holmatro rep and he
    had something along those lines. It was a book, a new product I think, with
    airbag and safety sytem data for many different makes and models of cars. I
    only got to look at it for about two minutes, but it was jam packed with

    Hefty price on it though!! About $107 dollars with shipping!

    Has anyone had a chance to really check one out?

    Mike Sherriff
    J-K Ambulance

  • #2

    I have seen the book you are talking about. It is a very comprehensive book that shows the placement of airbags, belt pretensioners, and just about anything else you can think of. It covers all cars on the road from 1985 (I think) to present. I was also told that it will be available in cd-rom soon as well.
    The book is a very good reference book, but I think it is not very useful at the scene. Sometimes it is difficult to tell what kind of car it is, let along what year it is. I was told to just look at the VIN and all that info is there. However, not too often to I have the time at a MVA to search the VIN.
    The VSDS will tell you all the info needed at a quick glance without ref'ing a book or cd-rom.
    By the way Ron, what is the status of the VSDS?
    Skip Rupert
    Keeper of the "RESCUE ZONE"


    • #3
      Mike and Skip:

      I received a copy of the Holmatro book 'The Rescuer's Guide to Vehicle Safety Systems' this past week. I have reviewed its' pages and become familiar with how the book is to be used. Most importantly, I now carry it with me in my FD Suburban that I respond to crash scenes with.

      I am the Fire Training Manager for Plano Fire Rescue, a 281-member career department protecting a city of 250,000. Plano Fire Rescue responds to 43 calls a day, with an average of 8 of those being MVA's every day of the year. Ours is an affluent community where people can afford nice new cars but they just can't drive for s-it.

      Friday, Sept 1st, I responded to 7 crashes, one with entrapment. Saturday the 2nd, I took in 11 crashes, one being a 3-car crash involving an unrestrained male patient in a pickup who is now a quadraplegic.

      Anyway, I've been working with the Holmatro book to see where and how it will be of value to emergency responders. I'll describe three case study crashes where my having the book "at the crash scene" was beneficial.

      One crash involved a T-bone of a Mustang into a Saab. Another crash, Ford F-150 into a Cadillac. The other situation from Sunday, an Acura traveling at high speed rear-ends a Lexus.

      Where are the airbags? Where's the battery? What year is the car? Are there any items we should worry about?

      Using the book, I first would determine what make(manufacturer) I was dealing with. The Cadillac confused me because Cadillac isn't listed at the top of the pages in the book. It is found under G for General Motors.

      At these crashes, I looked at hood ornaments, hubcap emblems or read the rear lip of the trunk to find out what model car I had. At the Lexus crash for example, the trunk lid told me it was a Lexus and it also showed it was a GS 300 model.

      We had four patients in the Lexus all with neck pain from the hard impact rearend collision. Mom driving, son up front and Grandma and Grandpa in the rear seats

      Knowing it as a Lexus, I learned that I then had to go to the driver's front windshield of the damaged vehicle to count the tenth character of the VIN. It was a Y in this case. In the first section of the Holmatro book, VIN Interpretation(page 1-24), I found that Y means a 2000 model year Lexus.

      Next, I turned to the Component Location section of the book, looking up Lexus. I knew from reviewing the book prior to use that once I got to the Lexus section, I needed to go to the first page for that year vehicle(page 2-250 in this case).

      There I read that the GS 300 uses battery location B, has a 90-second capacitor drain time, has component locations drawn out for me in Figure 00-1, and had hydraulic hood struts.

      On the same page, Figure 00-1 showed me the locations of the four airbags that were still all 'loaded'. It showed me where the airbag brain was, that there were seatbelt pre-tensioners and where the airbag crash sensors were mounted.

      While our medics prepared the patients seated inside the vehicle, we popped the hood and went right to the battery. It was right where it was supposed to be. I advised the Captain and his personnel of the seat-mounted side-impact airbags that the book told us about as we longboarded the Priority 3 patients.

      I have digital images of the Saab crash, the Cadillac crash and the Lexus crash. As soon as I get permission to put them on the firehouse.com website, I'll have a more visual explaination of the Holmatro book and how it works in the real-world.

      What have I found thus far that is interesting in using the book at crash scenes?

      Well, the Cadillac being listed under GM threw me off at first. Also, the Cadillac DID NOT have any model identification on it's exterior. The trunk lid said DTS. That's a trim line meaning luxury edition not a model deesignation. Other than the Cadillac hubcab emblems, it just looked like any other melted bar of soap new car on the road today. The front end was buried under the F-150 pickup so I couldn't see the hood or grill at all.

      I was looking to determine whether it was a Deville or a Seville because the Holmatro book showed me that their battery locations are completely different. I actually went into the ambulance and asked the injured patient what type of car she owned. Turned out the vehicle was a Cadillac Sedan DeVille. There were airbags in the front seats(figure 00-11 on page 2-133) and the battery was under the rear seat cushion.(figure C on page 2-129)

      I also learned that I cannot determine the year of manufacture by looking at the vehicle. I needed to actually get to the VIN plate or decal either on the dash at the windshield or on the edge of the opened driver's door to count the tenth character.

      Total "book time", now that I know what I'm doing is about 90 seconds.
      - Determine what make of car it is as I approach,
      - Go to the VIN plate or decal,
      - Read the tenth character,
      - Go to the VIN section of the book,
      - Flip to the Component section of the book, - - Turn to the battery location chart then turn to the component location figure.
      - Report finding to the officer in charge.
      - Notify crew of information.
      Start to finish 90 seconds.

      During this time, I was not doing extrication work. I was not doing EMS work either. I was focusing exclusively on this safety information for our personnel and our patients.

      It will take an assigned individual arriving first-due with the crews to accomplish this "book work".

      A final quick obesrvation. The soft cover of the book will not hold up well when used in the field. I'm thinking about having our City print shop drill holes and having the book made into a loose-leaf binder with a heavy-duty cover. Wear and tear in the apparatus and at the scene will take its' toll on the book as it is now.

      Check back soon to see an update that will direct you to the images of these three crashes that I've used as training examples.

      By the way, not all our crashes in Plano involve 2000 model vehicles, just most of them do. The Saab was a 1990!

      Ron Moore
      University of Extrication
      Message Forum Moderator
      <[email protected]>


      • #4
        Ron and others: Here's another way to reduce the 'book time' and bypass trying to find the VIN number on the wreck itself. In the state of Washington,and I'm going to assume it's the same in other places, the information that we're trying to determine - Make/Model/Year - are all parts of the vehicle's registration info, which is all in a computer database accessible via the license plate number( or on the registration in the glove box). This info is readily and quickly available to us from our dispatch center. So 3 ways to go here: 1.Dispatch asks call maker to give license plate #'s of vehicles with patients still inside. 2. Police or state troopers get on scene prior to our arrival and provide license plate #'s to dispatch. 3. 1st arriving officer gives info as part of size-up ie."E-2 at scene, 1 car on its side,1 pt. inside, plate # is 123ABC." Dispatch then advises over the air that 123ABC is registered to a 2000 Volvo S-80( or whatever it is). For situations 1 and 2 above, we know what vehicles we have patients still in before we get to the scene, hence no delay in ems or extrication activities. For situation 3,info can be looked up (15-20 seconds now) by officer in still responding rig (ie. ladder sent for extrication)or by crewmember at scene as part of phase 1 activities. Not foolproof( department of licensing computers may be down or running slow, plates might be missing or stolen or out of state), but just another option... We have 1 book in our Batt. Chief's van (goes to all injury auto accidents, BC doesn't do ems or extrication, basically a resource manager/safety)and 1 for our new quint we're putting into service in the next few months(quint will be added to run card for accidents to handle extrication duties.)



        • #5
          I have a copy of the Holmotro book and training tape and so far I'm well pleased with one exception. Neither gives any info about the automatic ROPS found in late model Volvo, BMW, or Mercedes vehicles. This could be a critical omission in some situations.


          • #6
            A Question from Forum Moderator Ron Moore

            For those departments who are just now getting the Holmatro book and are just beginning to learn to use it at crash scenes, I have a question.

            I'm interested in hearing about any new technology features of vehicles that are important to us and are things that you find on a crashed car but are not listed in the data pages of the book. The deployable rollbar is just one example.

            What other new technology stuff are you finding that should be included in the second edition of the book? I'm sure the gang at Holmatro would be interested in our input.

            [email protected]


            • #7
              As a word of caution, relaying on a book is not as reliable as your own visual recognition of hazards such as SRS, ROPS/RPS, and now the hazards associated with hybrid vehicles.

              As a tool in the classroom, or by developers, these books are a very useful. However, there may be/are omissions and errors that could injury a brother/sister ie: thinking that a capasitor has drained the charge when it hasn't because a book gave the wrong drain time data.

              I think that those of us who have used one of these books, will agree that there are some serious issues that should have been addressed and proofed prior to printing.

              Through proper training, the responder should learn to identify by visual recogition, the typical hazard indicators such as SRS identifiers.

              Personally, as a company officer on a three man company 1:2, at a remote out station, I will not be able to sit in the cab of my appartus to research a vehicle. I most likely will be assisting one of the members during the extrication phase.

              As I approach the vehicle I will look for hazards in the immediate area, then to the vehicle. As I get closer, look for identifiers that will indicat to me that there are hazards from the vehicle itself.

              If it is a convertible, and if it is one of the following: Volvo, BMW or Mercedes it could very well have automatic rollover protection. These systems have a capacitor, in a controller, similar to that of the SRS. If accidently deployed while a responder holds c-spine traction, it could seriously injury the responder as it deploys to the full travel limit in less than 3/10 second.

              This is not in either of the two books that are or are soon to be released. Mercedes offers a two seat coupe with a hardtop that has a flip style ROPS. Responders unles visually identifing this hazard, become injured becaues it was not in the books.

              Proper distancing from airbags will be one of the safest ways to reduce the risk and severity of injury should there be an accidentl deployment.

              I know that some will say that this is a step in the right direction, however you are now relying on text instead of the world's most powerful computer with a complex photo lens which is at everyone's personal use and is user friendly! To down load information, a department has to realize that most video programs and manuals do not touch base on all the hazards or areas that need to be addressed. Extrication is now a specialize field and departments need to teach new vehicle technology with perodic updates.

              There are some of us that are working with the industry to try to change things, hopefully soon we will have an aswer to responder fear. Fear which has lead many to use devices which are more dangerous than the airbag which they fear.

              We have seen such devices as restraint appliances that clamp on steering wheels to restrain or shred the airbag. While I have not be very popular with the manufacturers because of my stand of these devices, I feel they can be dangerous and like the book, are not the answer.

              Ron Moore was the originator, and came up with the best method to assist the responder at a crash. The Vehicle Safety Data Sheet or VSDS (look through previous threads or Firehouse Magazines)is a simple way that the auto industry can assist responders to identify hazards and even suggest ways to avoid them on a the VSDS. It could be located on the underside of the visors as the main location, other locations could be in the engine compartment and the trunk.

              It is not fesible that a crash would be so severe as not to be able to access one of these locations for the VSDS.

              How long would it take responders to visualize generic icons and identify the hazards associated with the model specific VSDS? This would avoid trying to update or correct errors, especially if the purchaser could not be located to notify them of an error.

              In closing, remember patient care can not be delayed because of active airbags or ROPS. At 0300, stressed, with a vehicle inverted, how easy will it be to identify the vehicle to use a book. Responder training with the latest technology is vital to your own personal safety, erge your department to provide the needed information and support Moores VSDS program. Proper distancing is one way to reduce the risk of injury and the severity. A simple airbag distancing rule such as Ron Moore's or mine: 5-10-20, while it will not apply to all airbags, it is a tool you can use to reduce the risk of injury and severity.

              Ron Shaw

              Ron Shaw


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