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Glass Breaking Operations, Make the call Mr. Moore and Others

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  • Glass Breaking Operations, Make the call Mr. Moore and Others

    I would like input from Mr. Moore and other rescue types on cutting out the windshield and the hazards the glass powder produces. If you look while we cut windshield on the scene with a variety of tools we produce a fine glass powder that becomes airborne. This glass dust can be inhaled by both the rescuer and the patient, plus contaiminate the patients lower leg injuries if they are open in nature. I know we cover the patient, but I have seen this powder from glass cutting operations cover the entire front passenger area of the vehicle. Are we creating are own hazard? We started several years ago to teach a reverse windshield removal technique where the front windshield is left in place and the integrity of the windshield broken at the lowest possible level to ease removal. This tehnique has shown great success and also prevented the glass powder from entering the patient compartment. I would like input on the hazards and new technique.

  • #2
    A Posting From Ron Moore


    You are very right about concerns for the airborne glass particles during windshield removal.

    In extrication competitions that I have observed in England, all Fire Brigade teams wore the paper face mask. It looked really wierd but the point was to prevent inhalation of glass. These masks resembled what we sometimes wear for body isolation hazards during EMS calls. I wonder why we don't do that over here?

    Second point-
    It is better to only cut the windshield low along the dash because that will minimize the amount of glass that is cut. It will also keep the fragments down low into the defroster area out of the way.

    Third point-
    Try this in a training exercise. Buy Gillette Foamy shaving creme. Shake it up and foam an inch-wide bead along the inside edges of the windshield along the same line that the glass cutting will take place.

    Now, saw out the windshield as we normally do, working from outside. This time however, follow the bead of shaving creme with your saw blade. Cut right into the middle of the foam.

    You'll be amazed at the difference!


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