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State Trooper Extrication

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  • State Trooper Extrication

    Hi all.

    We recently had a mva involving a trooper car in New Jersey. I personally had never responded to an incident involving a patrol car so I have a few questions.

    First off, we ran into the problem of cervical immobilization. The trooper has entrapped in the driver's seat. We had no access to the passenger side of the vehicle due to energized wires in that area. We also had no access to the front seats from the rear seats due to the partition dividing them. Manual CI was already in place by a member on scene through the driver door. (keep in mind all hazards were controlled, ie: cribbed, battery disconnect, ignition off, etc...). First we had to cut out the window frame of the driver door since the CI was in place and then the door came off.

    I guess my questions are:
    1)what are those partitions made of?
    2)is there any way to remove them?
    3)can cutters handle going through them? (Lukas w/ 99k lbs force)

    It was a real pain having a guy on the tool, a backup and a EMS provider all in the same area. We only did a door removal since we had an als patient and energized wires on the other side of the vehicle not to mention having a ff go into arrest at the same time so personnel was limited.

    Thanks for any information you can provide.


  • #2

    I have talked with several of our deputies and even gone through their cars for this same incident. The type of cages that they run is an expanded steel mesh covered in a rubber or polymer to elimate sharp edges and prevent rust. If you look on the top they usually mount just above the B post, one or two in the roof, near the bottom of the B post and there us usually some bolts in the floor. The fastest way that we thought of would be, using a reciprocating saw to cut the mounts or bolts that were above the level of the seat and then cutting horizontial across the top of the seat to remove the top half of the cage. This would give you access to the patient in the front seat. The only problem would be the sharp edges left above the seat but, edge covers and duct tape should take care of it.

    I guess that I would try a saw before hydralics.

    Chris Schultz
    Mountain Ambulance Service www.rescue70.org


    • #3
      So how did my Brother enforcement officer fare in the end? Being a cop myself, I have always kept in the back of my mind the unique dangers my rolling "office" (as in patrol car) presents to me if I were involved in an accident. Along with the problems you describe, don't forget that you are now dealing with a scene where one or more firearms are present along with impact weapons and any nunber of heavy objects in the car that could strike the occupants or fall onto a rescuer when you least expect it.

      To answer your question, I would need to know exactly what kind of rear seat divider you encountered. Chris describes one made from steel mesh. There are also dividers fabricated from plex-i-glass and heavy gauge wire. Some have sliding access windows in them and others fold down and still others slide completely down. Chris does give a good description on how they are mounted, but I have also seen some departments who have fabricated their own designs in dividers which often end up with unique installations. There are still other dividers that are incorporated into an actual roll-bar assembly. Some dividers do not extend below the top of the front seats and just mount on the "B" posts as well.

      As a general statement, I would agree that the Dewalt reciprocating saw would probably be my first tool to attack one of these things. You might also be able to just unbolt the mounting just as fast. Except for the roll bar units, the hydraulic cutters could probably do the job as well, but would be rather time consuming. Even a C/C cutter would be awkward to work with cutting vertically inside a car.

      Since we're on the subject, along with the harards I mentioned before, don't forget that if you have a police officer patient, he/she is probably wearing body armour that you will need to deal with should you need to perform CPR on the patient. it is also not uncommon for cops to carry a back-up pistol or other concealed weapons that you should be weary of. If you are dealing with a firearm on the patient, don't try to render it "safe" unless you are very familiar with it. The safest thing to do with it is to leave it in it's holster. If you turn it over to another police officer, be sure to document who you gave it to so that it can be located later. It would be ideal to have another member of the same police agency take control of it, but it has been my experience in the rural areas, that the other cops that show up while you are there will likely be from other departments who may not be present when the victim's department arrives.

      [This message has been edited by Engine69 (edited 04-25-2001).]


      • #4
        Jhaney22, I'm confused....In one sentence you said that "all hazards were controlled" but in an earlier sentence, you said you could not access the passenger side due to "energized wires in this area." Sounds like you shouldn't have been near the area at all if the live wires were that close to the vehicle. I'm not trying to sound cruel about leaving the trooper in the car but if the extrication crew gets zapped during the job....I'd rather not think about that. Seems like the power should have been shut off before extrication was started, just like you disconnected the battery, which apparently the front of the vehicle was not hazardous due to live wires.
        Sounds like you did a good job despite the dangers and I hope the brother in blue is doing well. As for the partition, the best way I have found is to either cut with a sawzall at the posts or use a electric or pneumatic impact wrench or hand tools to remove the bolts securing the partition.

        Rescue Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)


        • #5
          What about the firefighter that arrested? Did he have a heart attack or was he shocked by the downed wires? Did he recover?


          • #6
            Sorry for the confusion. The energized wires were far enough away to be rendered safe from the vehicle but not safe enough to have rescuers on that side w/ tools, etc...

            As for the fire-arms, we had another State Trooper disarm the patient and also secure his backup weapons. The vest was taken off as soon as we had him on the board.

            The partition that the Trooper car had was clear (possibly plexiglass). I didn't give it much of a look since we didn't figure it into plan A or B. I think it had a slider in the middle.

            Last I heard he is doing fine. Had compound fractures to both arms I believe.

            The FF went into arrest from a hx of heart problems. Last I heard, he is doing fine.


            [This message has been edited by Jhaney22 (edited 04-25-2001).]


            • #7
              Ah, okey doke. Now I understand. Yes, I was also concerned about the ill firefighter but I was interrupted in my post and unable to finish the thought. I hope he is doing well.

              Lt. Kevin C (aka Pokey)


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