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Anybody use air-bag restraints?

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  • Anybody use air-bag restraints?

    I know the newer vehicles have air-bags everywhere, but does anyone out there use the kevlar (or other type) restraints that go over the steering wheel and are supposed to stop the air-bag if it goes off? Does it work? What is the best brand? Is it worth it or is it more practical to be wary and watch what you are doing?

  • #2
    S. Cheatham, my rescue company once looked at all of the toys that came out a couple of years ago that promised to stop airbag deflation or to cut down on the force of the bag ejection from the steering wheel. At the time it was a really good idea and we thought really hard about it and had a few demos. After a while, common sense started to take over and we realized a few things by being a devils advocate.

    If that device you put on the steering wheel, God forbid, is not properly secured, you may have a projectile now if the bag deploys. Some of them reduce working room because of their size and because the technology of airbags is changing constantly, to have one for every airbag in the vehicle is almost impossible. We have found that the best way to be prepared for airbag deployment is to cut the battery if accessible, always assume the bag is still live and can deploy and give them space. There seems to be no sure fire way around them but knowing they are there and keeping out of the line of fire is the safest thing to do.

    Peace and stay safe.

    Rescue Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)

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    • #3
      I tend to agree with the last comment about how the restraints can become missiles if they are not applied properly.
      I have only ever seen an airbag restraint for the steering wheel, and these are designed to stop the full inflation of the airbag.
      However, I have used two types of airbag restraints and find that they both are reasonably easy to put on.
      One type is called a bag buster and is basically a steel plate with triangular shaped pieces cut out that are forced down like teeth, it has two hook shaped pieces that go over the top of the wheel and then a piece that attachs to the centre with a screw lock that has a hook that attaches to the bottom of the wheel and the screw lock is tightened. It also has a bag that covers the asembly to limit the dust and powder residue if the bag inflates. If the bag inflates the "teeth" pierces the bag and it will not be bale to inflate fully, this is where the unburnt chemical and powder residue comes from. According to the information we have this type of restraint can be used more than once if it stops an airbag, although it should be tested. This type of restraint can become a missile if not attached properly or if the steering wheel fails. It also projects out about 10 centimetres (4 inches) from the wheel. It can be difficult to fit at times and is almost impossible if the persons legs are caught under the steering wheel.

      The other type is like the kevlar bag you mentioned and it is only one use and then has to be tested if it stops an air bag.

      The other problem is of course that there are so many diffrent air bags nowadays it would probably be best to have as much information as possible and always suspect that they are in location and could go off. We have a booklet that is produced by the Australian Federal Government Department for Road Safety and it lists each vehicle and the location of the airbag and the best way to shut it down.
      I hope this has helped, stay safe.

      Comment


      • #4
        this is a common and all too recuring Question. My simple answer is DO NOT USE THEM! Would you put a Plug in the End of Gun? (I hope not) Why would you want to block an Explosive Discharge. Another point to consider here is this, if the steering wheel is damaged then how secure is the anchor point. Further more I have heard from a trusted friend that these devises have Broken Steering wheels (durring a demo at a Competition - see other thread here). Could they come Loose then????? What about two stage Air bages????? I question the "Securtity" these devices give you. Just my Humble opinon

        ------------------
        Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
        Carl D. Avery

        Comment


        • #5
          This is like the Slim Jim Hoax, or who's hydraulics is better... it seems to pop up time after time.

          While I once stood on the other side of the fence, I have completely changed my mind. We learn by others as I have done in my opinion on the use of restraint devices.

          I have dubbed the reasoning for wanting to use the restraint devices as "Responder Fear", as instructors we have all promoted airbag awareness and safety, or should have. However have we really accomplished this task if there are responders wanting to use these devices.

          Ron Moore and I were driving back from Dallas to his home little over two years ago and this subject came up. Ron had pointed out to me that the airbag manufacturers, the auto makers and NHTSA-DOT all recommend not restraining any type of airbag.

          He went on to say that if you put one of these devices on an airbag and there is an accidental deployment causing an injury, it is your device that may have caused the injury not the airbag.

          After I thought about it, all of 15 seconds, I realized Ron was right and I have since then credited Ron for putting me on right path.

          Distancing yourself from airbags is your best way to reduce the risk and severity of an injury. Moore also came out with a rule of thumb for distancing, I retooled it to make it easier to remember:

          5-10-20 Inch Rule of Thumb for Active Airbags

          5-inches from SIPS double this figure to get to the next...

          10-inches from Driver Frontal double this figure to get to the next...

          20-inches from Passenger Frontal

          While these figures may not work for all airbag designs, it will help for the most part. New Technology programs should give more advanced airbag awareness for the responder, making our working enviroment safer should be one of the first concerns for program developers considering updating existing vehicle-X programs.

          There is plenty of information available on the web, NHTSA-DOT, Moore's articles in back issues of Firehouse and even on this forum.

          I have herd from some "we are going to do what ever it takes to protect our responders". My only thought is this really keeping them safe or pointing a loaded weapon at them and or the patients?

          When you have seen a video of a failure using such a device, it should open your eyes and may re-adjust your stance on this issue. There are videos showing failures of the restrants or the steering wheel ring assembly from the forces created while trying to restrain the driver frontal.

          As Moore pointed out to me, the injury you may receive from the airbag may be less severe than the acutual injury caused by a failure while trying to restrain an airbag with a restraint device. I know of no well know fire service instructor in this field that would support the use of such a device.

          Responder Fear has caused some responders to make and use home remedies and even rescue companies to develop devices to restrain airbags. T
          However, the best advise I can offer is education, use visual recognition, perform power disconnect as soon as possible and distance yourself from any possible active airbag.

          Once considered harmless, after being deployed, airbags can now redeploy if given the right parameters such as the case of the smart airbags called "Dual Action". Where there are two seperate inflations to the same airbag. A controler determines what the firing sequence will be as set by the indiviual automakers' OEMs.

          Stay Safe...



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

          Comment


          • #6
            Just saw a new even scarier air bag restraint. I wont mention the Distributor 'cause I do not want to support their product in any way! If you seen a Slime Green one that "Snaps" (my words not the Distributors)on the steering wheel, Look it over cautiously and decide how you would tell those in a court of Law just why you would use it and what authority says there use is appropriate?

            ------------------
            Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
            Carl D. Avery

            Comment


            • #7
              Our department supplies a Holmatro air bag restraining device that fits over the steering wheel and is secured by non slip buckles and rated webbing belts. I have not observed them used in anger but our rescue instructors state they are the best or we wouldnt use them. We still carry out the basic safety proceedures as well as use the restraints.

              Comment


              • #8
                How would we know if the steering wheel hasn't been damaged at some point in its life or have been poorly built(that would never happen). Our department looked at buying one of these systems and came to the conclusion that we are only restraining 1 of the many bags in the vehicles giving a false sense of safety. We decided that proper training and more of it would be the better route!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Our department uses those air bag restraining devices everyday. To prop open the side door on the station.

                  Comment

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