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Side Impact Airbag Extrication

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  • Side Impact Airbag Extrication

    After coffee time discussions with the firefighters in the department I realize that no one really knows the best way to extricate a patient from a vehicle with side impact airbags. The article archives provided some direction as to placement and types, but I am concerned with tool placement (hydraulic or saw). I keep getting dead end anwsers that no matter what we do it could set off the airbags to nothing will happen at all. Can any one provide me with some direction for future training???

  • #2
    Well from chatting with some of my firends in "da Business" one approach we came up with after our discusion was the fender crunch technique, that is crunch the fenders over the wheels that draws the sheet metal away from the door seams. This gives you an access point to work your tool to then peel the door open. This technique is offered as an option to the door crunch method. Since this came about from chatting Lets hear your ideas and option!
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

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    • #3
      Only one problem with a fender crunch. According to the Rescue Technician book from the University of Maryland, the fender area next to the door is a high percentage location for the airbag crash sensor. Crunching this area if there is any kind of charge left in the capacitors will get you aface full of talc powder.
      Unfortunately, ther are so many different designs out there, we, as rescuers will just have to laboriously study all the different makes and models we can and just apply basic principle of extricationand pray, pray, pray, that someday there will be some kind of regularity to air bag sensor placement, capacitor design,deployment source,and capacitor draining procedures. So we can get this all into our pretty little brain husks and not have to carry around a fricking laptop computer to store the 5000 different strategies to break the beast.
      Grant Davis
      Improvise,Adapt,Overcome

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      • #4
        With the side curtian protection systems offered by volvo and BMW would a standard roof removal above the inflator mechanism but into the bag itself cause concern for hazards????? If this isnt a prefered method then what would be a method to remove the roof on a vehicle with side curtian protection?????

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        • #5
          We have stuck with if you are not sure assume it is there.

          Because of this we will pull the paneling off of the B-posts before we cut.

          Granted it takes a little longer and the Golden Hour is ticking, But our safety comes first. Any contradictions to this or better advice would be appreciated.
          Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

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          • #6
            Hello everybody!

            Originally posted by vogelfuer:
            <STRONG>...the fender area next to the door is a high percentage location for the airbag crash sensor. Crunching this area if there is any kind of charge left in the capacitors will get you aface full of talc powder.</STRONG>
            As far as I know every airbag computer has got a saving-sensor (Only the mechanically operated bags - volvo-sips bags - didn't have). So it needs a crash-relevant force from two different sensors to acctivate the airbag. That's why the chance of a deployment when crushing one of the sensors in the fender is not very high!
            Jorg Heck
            Airbag&Co, Germany/Austria
            http://airbag.feuerwehr.org

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            • #7
              Just for starters, we should dispose of a myth about airbags. Safety systems installed by todays auto manufacturers, such as airbags and seatbelt pretensioners, are only activated in specific situations. Airbags cannot deploy spontaneously. There is always a verifiable cause for the activation of the airbag or seatbelt pretenioners. During rescue operations accidental deployment can happen from crushing the airbag module, a short in the electrical system or the activation of a mechanical sensor. It is impossible, during a rescue attempt, for an airbag to be activated without a verifiable cause. It is, however, quite possible, that during the rescue operation, one of the above may lead to an accidental airbag deployment.

              Causing a short circuit is the most likely cause for an unsuspected airbag deployment. While cutting, spreading or ramming the vehicle, parts of the electrical wiring can become cut, the airbag computer can be accidentally crushed or a sensor can be activated. It is imperative that rescue personnel attempt to disable the battery on arrival so that short circuits are no longer possible. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. Batteries may be found in atypical locations (i.e. under the rear seat cushion, in the trunk or behind the front bumper). Turning off the ignition and removing the negative and positive battery cables should be carried out to ensure safety.

              If it is not possible to disconnect the vehicles battery(s) from the electrical system, the risk of accidentally activating one or more airbags remains until the rescue operation is completed.

              Some types of airbags use gas cylinders (pressure Vessels) instead of (or in addition to) the taditional pyrotechnic gas generators for deployment of the airbags. The cylinders may be located in the B, C and/or D pillars. Before cutting these structures the upholstery should be stripped off the inside of the pillar-post to see whether or not any pressure vessels or pyrotechnic gas generators are present (i.e. strip and peek).

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              • #8
                First off thanks to everyone that replied, the information i am gathering is invaluable. A question i have is about the gas cylinder we find in the posts of the cars. During a roof removal in vehicles with undeployed side portection curtians and after we have discovered the location of the cylinder do we cut above or below the cylinder? And what possible dangers does anyone see with either type of procedure?

                Thanks,
                Mike Dettloff

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                • #9
                  Hi Mike!

                  If you could cut below the hybrid-gas-generator I think there are no more problems. Be alert when you cut the post because you also cut the wires which fires the bag and there is the possibility of a short circuit.

                  If it's not possible to cut below the cylinder because of the position where it is mounted cut the whole undeployed airbag with the c-post. A window curtain has a volume of about 12 to 15 liters, so if the airbag deploys accidentaly there is not much hot gas released in the air.

                  Did you know that there are new cool-hybrid-gas-generators which did not heat the gas before it is released in the bag! There is a manufacture in germany which builts this type of generator which also did not use any kind of pyrotechnique devices. The pressure vessel of this generator has a pressure arround 600 bar (don't know how much this is in psi).

                  Any input?
                  Jorg Heck
                  Airbag&Co, Germany/Austria
                  http://airbag.feuerwehr.org

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