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Answers on Roof-Mounted Airbag Systems

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  • Answers on Roof-Mounted Airbag Systems

    Received a question this week from a firefighter in Illinois. i receive about 20 questions a week in personal email. In addition to answering these directly, I've decided to post the question and my reply for all to review. Hope this new contribution is helpful to you.

    "I was wondering if you would be able to send my department any new information on the new type of airbags that are located in the roof of the vehicle. Our department was kinda puzzled how one would cut off the roof of a car if there is an airbag in the side one of the posts and in the roof. I am certain this is a potential hazard waiting to happen. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    My reply:

    Please review the March 2001 University of Extrication article on one vehicle
    with roof-mounted airbags; the 2001 Audi. If you get the March magazine, you'll see the photos of where the compressed gas cylinders are located for these systems. Audi puts the inflator on the inside of the rear roof post rigtht where we would normally cut through the rear roof pillar during roof removal.

    Other roof-mounted airbags may have their inflator canister mounted inside the
    front dashboard at the level of the top front door hinge.

    There are NO airbags located in B-pillars!

    I suggest that you study these roof-mounted systems by visiting dealerships, asking
    questions and checking out their color literature showing the safety features of
    their cars. Look over the vehicles on the showroom and take photos to show the guys
    back at the station.

    Also go to <firehouse.com> and check out my University of Extrication article archives
    section. I've written a lot about dealing with these roof-mounted airbag systems.

    Basically you must scan for the airbag ID, shut down electrical power, strip roof
    pillar trim before cutting and avoid getting into an airbag inflation zone at any

    Ron Moore

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