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  • Undeployed Air-bags

    I have seen a couple of products on the market to assist with air-bags that are undeployed. We responded to a T-bone collision on Tues. this week to find a 1995 Dodge Stealth that took a Chevy S-10 in the drivers door. We were there to extricate the driver of the Stealth who had blood coming from her ear, a compound fracture of her left arm, and some breathing problems(broken ribs most likely). Being the first fire officer on scene I sized up the area, both vehicles, and council with the medic in the stealth. I relayed the observation to the Captain on the truck and specified that the victim was still in the deployment zone of the air-bag from the steering wheel that was undeployed. I think I forgot to say that I yelled at the medic who was practically sitting on the steering wheel. The question is this how do you deal with these bags. I had the Captain take his folks and cut both hinges on the door, both were exposed in the impact, and work the door out from the lady. I did this to cause as little added tension on the front of the car as possible. The fender on the driver-side was not deformed by the wreak and I was unsure if it had a censure for the bag or not. To me it was like going to high school from second grade. It is a scary feeling to be unsure of what will happen and not have any protection from it. I know that it is the nature of the beast, but these cages I have seen for the steering wheels, do they work. Have they came up with something else to protect us from the danger. Any input would be greatly appreciated and for products if you could give me the manufacture, so I can look at getting my folks some protection.

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    SERVING FOR PRIDE
    PROUD TO SERVE!

  • #2
    James, I have just finished teaching a class on undeployed airbags. One thing you omitted in you comments. Did you safety the battery? That is the first rule in airbags safety. Waiting a minute or two will greatly reduce the chance for deployment. The aftermarket covers they make may help. But remeber, if they fail, not only do you have a deployment of the bag, but the product flying at you as well. Holmotro and Lukas make safety sleeves for the drivers airbag. But they are one time use( if he bag deploys) and they are expensive $300-500 It is best to safety the vehicle, wait and maintain the 5-10-20 rule away from the bags if possible. In my department, we treat a loaded bag like a loaded gun. Extreme caution. I hope this helps. Be safe.

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    • #3
      86, Thank you for your suggestions on "undeployed airbags". In this day and age, there are so many different "rules of thumb" that I feel you may benefit if you were to research a little deeper. I have been doing so and here are some of the things I have found out. First off,"Safetying" the battery as you put it may only give a false sense of security. There are some vehicle manufacturers that have a 10 minute capacitor powering the bags after disconnect. I found this out the hard way on a Chevy Astro. Secondly, some vehicles have a pyrotechnic firing device (mostly in side impact systems) that disconnecting the battery won't help anyting. Thirdly, I found this information on Mr Shaw's site that a govenmental agency (national highway ... can't recall the exact name) in their studying of vehicle's with undeployed airbags that it was recommended to "NOT restrain an undeployed D\S air bag." Also on Mr. Shaw's site you will find out information that, on the newer generation SRS systems that deploy in two stages can have the first stage fire and leave the second stage loaded.

      It is getting to the point that you are going to have to have a written guide information (MSDS type info)available on scene. It may be worth the extra minute to refresh your memory on hidden and difficult to remember hazards. The complexty of vehicle manufacturing today with new generation SRS, side impact SRS, EPG , high voltage hybrid cars; vehicle extrication is likeneing to the field of Hazmat. It is virtually impossible to retain and recall in the split second time frame.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jim and 86Rescuetech posted some good observations, however, I caution you all if you choose to use a restraint device to restrain an airbag system. These devices are not recommended to be used by airbag manufacturers, automobile makers or NHTSA-DOT. If the device fails, the injury it caused maybe worse than that of the airbag. Then the question comes up on liability, did the airbag cause the injury or was it the device you placed over the airbag that caused the injury. There have been document failures to these devices.

        Responder fear had once got to me too, I was in favor of these devices, however, while sitting next to Ron Moore on our way back from the Dallas Fire Academy, Ron changed my opinion completely and I have to omit I was wrong. I am glad I listened to Moore for some good advise, I suggest you do some serious research prior to using or purchasing them.

        There are numerous posts on this subject, if you can make the time, go back and research them before you rush out to purchase these devices.

        There are other manufacturers of these devices that you left out, one being a heavy steel device that shreds the airbag. There is now a passenger side frontal restraint device offered by two rescue tool manufacturers.

        86Rescuetech mentioned waiting one or two minutes, I think this gives the wrong impression and I am not sure that is what he really wanted to say or imply. Some may think it means don't do anything for a couple minutes, this would not be acceptable.

        Patient care should not be delayed because of active airbags. The other important point is to make use of the battery before you perform power disconnect. Power Seats, windows, door, trunk, hood locks should all be activated. Manually deploy hydraulic ROPS/RPS and move seats back as required. Once the power is disconnected you will not be able to use these electrical devices. If you have a simple entrapment, moving an electric seat back a few inches may save critical minutes. Having to displace doors and roofs may mean the more risk of injury especially if there are side impact curtains.

        There are many times that the battery can not be found or accessed such as a vehicle inverted. There are also mechanical sensors that can not be deactivated in the field. Killing the battery power will have no effect on this type sensor.

        Distancing from the airbag is the safest way to reduce the risk and severity of injury during an accidental deployment of an airbag system during extrication. While my 5-10-20 inch general rule of thumb may work for most airbags, it will not work on every airbag. BTY, the 5-10-20 is a hybrid of Ron Moore's original rule, I think I made it easier to remember the distances. I don't want to take all the credit, Ron invented the mouse trap...

        Stay Safe!



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        Ron Shaw
        http://www.extrication.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you all for the advice. Mr. Shaw you have confirmed what I suspected, that these devices are only band-aids for the problem and not the answer. Although we make a lot of mva's over the year, this problem doesn't presented it self often. Me and my guys have talked about it before and discussed the restraining plate that was mentioned before, but I am sorry to say we were unprepared for the incident. Since we don't do ems and only roll on pin-ins most of the time this not an issue. fireman_387 we did treat this like a haz-mat scene and did our jobs with great care not to disturb the bag and kept everyone away from it. Once again thanks for the feedback. I will look though some of the old discussions and share you wisdom with my folks. To answer your question 86RescueTech, we did cut the battery supply after we made entry though the door and opened the hood with the lever.

          ------------------
          SERVING FOR PRIDE
          PROUD TO SERVE!

          Comment


          • #6
            Ron, thanks for the info. I might has mis-written what I meant about the time. Patient assessment is crucial and no that shouldn't be delayed. The 5-10-20 rule maybe the only "safe" way to operate in a vehicle. With the advances in the vehicle safety from car manufacturers, we may need to ammend the areas of protection and include head restraint. Who really knows how much more they will install, and where? I know powering down of a vehicle may take as much as an hour, and that will not guarantee me that the bags will not deploy. I hope this clarifys my comments. Be safe.

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