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  • Steering Wheel Air Bag Restraning Devices

    Is there any information on the effectiveness of the "Holmatrol Secunet". I have heard both pro's and con's on the use of these types of devices. Also, is there any videos of these devices in use and actually working as advertised?

  • #2
    We've been down this road a couple times on this forum before... dig a little bit and you'll find some good info.

    I think most agree with me... we don't use them. The concern is, if you somehow manage not to install the device correctly, do you want that piece of equipment flying around in the car when an air bag deploys??



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    Comment


    • #3
      A Posting from Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

      During what has become the most widely known vehicle extrication incident of modern day, two Dayton Ohio firefighters were injured when the dual frontal airbags on a 1994 Mitsubishi Galant automobile they were working on deployed. Both firefighter Tom Trimbach and Jim Kohler were struck by the airbags with Trimbach being literally thrown through the air by the inflation force of the passenger frontal bag.

      Lessons learned from this August 1995 response reinforce the need for fire and rescue personnel to shut down the electrical system of any vehicle they perform extrication operations on at an accident scene and remain clear of the airbag inflation zones.

      District Chief Jim Beach, Incident Commander in Dayton, commented "We were aware that the electrical system (of the Mitsubishi) was intact. We didn't feel at the time that it was necessary to disconnect the electrical system. Our prime concern was the possible hazard of fire. We weren't looking for airbags at that time." Remember, this was the thinking back in 1995 for many of us.

      In situations such as Dayton, where rescuers have people trapped and encounter a 'loaded' airbag system that has not deployed, action must be quickly taken to control the vehicle's electrical system. Here is a quick checklist for 'loaded' airbag system management at an accident scene;
      • o Stabilize scene hazards; fire, fuel, wires down, hazmat, etc.
      • o Stabilize vehicle to prevent movement; block and chock
      • o If safe to do so, utilize vehicle's electrical controls to;
        1) unlock power doors,
        2) lower power windows,
        3) open rear trunk or hatchback,
        4) move power operated seat(s).
      • o Take away electrical power by disconnecting or cutting negative ground cable followed by positive, hot cable. This allows airbag system's electrical storage capacitor(s) to begin their "drain" down.
      • o Secure end of cable with duct tape or electrical tape to prevent re-establishing contact with any metal components.
      • o Remain clear of the inflation zone of each airbag if it were to deploy
        (The electrical storage capacitors in an airbag system may allow the system to remain energized with reserve power from zero or one second to over 20 minutes even though the battery has been disconnected. )
      • o Proceed with normal rescue and EMS activities.


      Personnel must be trained to keep themselves, their partners, EMS and rescue equipment, and their patients clear of all 10"-18"-5" inflation zones of loaded airbags.

      There is nothing in my advisory that recommends use of airbag containment devices. Take that for what its' worth!

      Comment


      • #4
        Like Medalmetic has stated, if you go back you will see this topic in the archives.

        Many may not take the word of Moore or myself, instead insist on using or propomoting the driver frontal airbag restraint devices. I suggest that before you go further, you contact the airbag manufacturers, the auto makers and NHTSA-DOT and ask for their advice.

        If your department does use one of these devices, and there is an accidental deployment of the driver airbag with a injury, remember it is the device that you put over the airbag, that failed and caused the injury NOT the airbag.

        There are currently three types of (driver only) restraint devices sold in the U.S., one that is similar to a sack and now uses two metal cam locks in the back to secure the device. Which is sold under the Holmatro label.

        The second type is a web design with a small pad center, which uses a single cam lock closurer in the back. This type restraint is sold under the label of Lukas and ResQTek. The only difference that I can see is the color that the two companies have chosen to use.

        The third type is a two piece steel device that locks on the steering wheel assembly. This device has sharp teeth that are placed against the airbag, as the airbag deploys, the teeth shreds the bag. A sack is placed over this device. According to the manufacturer, this may be used over again without being inspected by the manufacturer. This is a practice that I personally would not recommend. I have seen a 150 lb manikin tossed like a rag doll when just leaning against the bag as it deploys. What would a steel device with teeth do if unleashed?

        Airbag injuries have prompted the industry to capitalize on "Responder Fear". Airbag awareness, visual recognition, power disconnect and proper distancing will reduce the chance or severity of injury to the responder and their patients.

        With the airbag manufacturer's, the auto makers and the U.S. Government stating; do not restrain an airbag system, what chance do you have against a law suit. Especially if a no or low cost item like proper traiing may have prevented the injury.

        If you want to resolve the SRS safety issues, write letters to your union officals, federal government representatives and ask that NHTSA-DOT step in and form a committee to work with leaders in the extrication field to improve responder safety.

        I can personally tell you that while you may not hear or see it, people like Moore and myself are working constantly with the airbag manufacturers or the auto makers to make them aware of our concerns at the scene of an incident and further ask for there cooperation.

        However, it can't be done alone, we need your support and help. The first step is to ask your training officer to provide you with the latest information on SRS and automatic roll bars.

        One of the best ideas to date was Moore's VSDS. A placard that could be placed in areas of the vehicle to identify all hazards such as SRS, ROPS/RPS and high voltage systems for the hybrid vehicles.

        One last comment on the restraint devices, I have video tapes of restaint device failures, I know witnesses that have seen the each of the three products fail during tests or demos.

        You have factors that can lead to a failure that is out of your control. One would be the condition of the steering wheel assembly at the time of the crash. The crash may have cause a component to weaken or even a hidden manufacturer's defect.

        The soft fabric devices are good only for one deployment, starting at a cost of over $400 per unit, again for a one time use. The manufacturer of the steel device suggests that it can be used over again for multiple uses without a manufacturer's inspection. The cost is aproximately $600 for this device.

        Some may say it's a small price to pay for our safety. I say not if it actually increases your risk of an injury.

        The injury that you may sustain from the device may be greater than the injury from the airbag. Distancing will greatly reduce the chance and severity of injury.

        Be safe...

        Ron Shaw

        ------------------
        Ron Shaw http://www.extrication.com


        [This message has been edited by Ron Shaw (edited September 24, 2000).]

        Comment


        • #5
          I just spoke out against (on another similar topic on this board) people reporting on things they did not personally see, but here I go, Many of you know ZMAG aka Mike Schmidt, He has the reminents(sp?)of a Late model Buick steering wheel. It is in two pieces, that is because a demo of one of these devices broke it. the Steering wheel BROKE, What does that tell you about rellying on Steering wheels to secure the Air bag. New Steering wheels are designed to yeild on impact. That very design factor makes all such devices vunerable to failure. DO we want that responsibility? my vote is NO

          ------------------
          Carl D. Avery

          Comment

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