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Advice on Roof Removal with Roof Airbags

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  • Advice on Roof Removal with Roof Airbags

    A Posting From Forum Moderator Ron Moore

    Received this email and have included my reply. Anyone else have some additional suggestions, please feel free to jump in!

    "I am an extrication specialist with our department and read your articles on the airbags in the new vehicles (Firehouse May 2001 and June 2001)

    I was wondering if you could provide any special information as to how to cut the "A" posts and such for roof removal or roof flaps.

    I teach extrication classes to our department as well as surrounding agencies. Any information that you could provide, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you very much."

    My Reply - - -


    Because of the availability of roof-mounted airbag systems for side impact, the rescue service is turning towards total roof removal as our primary roof evolution. Totally removing the roof level with the dashboard is the least intrusive to these undeployed roof airbag systems.

    For that task, cutting tools include hydraulic cutters of any make, model or design, an electric reciprocating saw (24volt cordless or a corded 110volt unit), an air chisel or even a hacksaw.

    Before any roof pillars are cut, the interior trim panels should be peeled away to expose the inside of the pillar. With the trim stripped, the inside rescuer can see any airbag systems mounted to the pillars. You can also see the strong or weak areas of the pillar, making your cutting more efficient.

    Another efficiency note. For total roof removal, cut the rear pillars first, then the middle and finally the front A-pillars. This sequence keeps the roof intact without requiring personnel to hold it until the final cuts are made.

    Once a roof pillar is cut and before the roof is lifted off, you should place 'sharps protection' over the exposed rough cut metal. Then when all posts are cut and the roof is lifted, there are no sharp jagged edges to injure someone. We use the orange Extrication Guard pads from Branch

    Ron Moore
    Fire Training Manager
    Plano (TX) Fire Rescue
    (214) 728-6776
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

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