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More Roof Problems with the 2007s

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  • More Roof Problems with the 2007s

    Received this report of an extrication challenge from a southern Florida fire officer. This is just the beginning I'm afraid.

    Report:
    We attempted to cut the A-post on a 2007 VW Jetta with our Holmatro 3020-UL C-cutter, but were unable to get through on the first attempt. It took three tries to get through the A-post, but the B-post was impossible to cut with our hydraulic cutters. Apparently, Volkswagen has installed a creased sheet metal roll bar in the center of the roof on this model, that runs through both B-posts, and across the top of the roof. The A-posts and C-posts are similarly reinforced, but we were able to cut through both with considerable difficulty.

    I would like to know if you have any helpful information on what makes and models are using this new design, and how we can approach it in an extrication. Fortunately, we accomplished this extrication by just cutting sheet metal, and flapping the roof back. Your input is much appreciated.

    My Reply:

    You're sort of at the cutting edge of this new problem and I do not have a lot of information out on it yet. The exotic metals we speak about such as Boron, are becoming more popular with the 07 models because the government changed the side impact standard, effective with the 07 model year. So what you guys ran into is going to become a more and more frequent occurrence.

    Automakers have reached a point of no return with side impact airbags, Seats, doors, and roof is just about all they can do from the airbag perspective. But the new government standard pushes them further. So with airbag technology maxed out, they have turned to a beefed-up side structure as the solution to meet the Standard. That's why we'll see more and more stronger, cut-resistant B-pillars for example.

    Subaru started on this impact standard mission back with their 2003 models. I cut a 2003 Forester B-pillar with a rotary saw just to see what it was made of. It was 7 layers of steel with an actual rebar rod welded inside the core of the pillar. That was 2003!

    Maybe what we will collectively come up with will be alternative roof extrication techniques. Many of our current hydraulic cutting/shearing tools have problems coping with these pillars. Our hacksaws, reciprocating saws and air chisels are useless against these exotic metals. Rotary saws with abrasive blades will overpower this metal and cut the pillar but their use isn’t practical at extrication scenes.

    During roof removal evolutions, the B-pillar must typically be cut through. As an alternative to cutting a Subaru B-pillar, rescuers will be able to make two cuts into the roof rail at the top of the B-pillar forming an inverted ‘V’ cut. This will separate the roof from the top of the pillar allowing the roof to be removed. Another option will be to ‘flip’, ‘flap’, or ‘flop’ the front portion of the roof, making a hinge cut in the roof rail in front of the B-pillar. Remember, the A-pillars and roof rail are of a conventional design and will not offer the resistance that the Subaru B-pillars will.

    Another option is to not cut any of the roof rails or roof pillars. Instead cut all layers of the sheetmetal parallel to the sides of the roof. In other words, make a giant sunroof to extricate the patients through.

    Who knows what creative rescuers will come up with. What we do know right now is that we are just at the tip of this big challenge.

    Besides rescuers preparing options for cutting exotic high strength, high tension structural metals, the challenge is out there for our rescue tool manufacturers to create power cutters that can deal with these reinforced pillars. With the Federal government pushing for better vehicle side impact performance and standards to require better roof crush performance being developed, we will be seeing more reinforced "A", "B", "C" & "D" pillars and we will see the increased use of exotic martensite (boron) high strength, high tension steels.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

  • #2
    We just had an extrication last week with a subaru forester. For roof removal, B post was cut high at roof. Later, for convenience, we decided to cut the post at door level to remove the "stub". When the guy cut it, the 12" section of post flew about 20' in the air. Fortunately nobody was hit by it. Later, I retrieved the piece and discovered the approx. 1/2" diameter solid rod in the center of it. We thought that in the future we either take the post low to begin with while still attached to the roof, or do a full post removal from bottom to avoid cutting any small pieces which could go airborne? I guess a second guy holding it firmly could also prevent a problem?

    Comment


    • #3
      cpsfd1

      I don't know if I would want anyone to be holding that Bpost when it was being cut for convenience. I think cut high with the V- notches, and then cut out the b-post with the v-notch at the base of the post. This way, you create a nice wide opening for the patient extrication and leave the rescuers being safe. This is what my personal preference would be. But your other idea of cutting low on the b-post and removing it with the roof is an idea that I have not seen much around here. I may have to look into it more.

      Cheers.
      Jason.
      Career Paramedic/Volunteer Firefighter
      Saving Lives or Basements everyday.
      Member of the IACOJ

      Goalies are the best btw :P

      Comment


      • #4
        At an extrication challenge this year Larry Anderson and I talked about this. Larry stated the hurst gold line series C cutter at 15?,??? lbs cutting force on the 5000 psi power unit barley cut this rod at max pressure on the unit. I just checked your cutters spec - 63,400 lbs. I would say it is time to upgrade to the 4050NCT at 208,000 lbs. I think this would do it. However like stated in the other posts. There are more than one way to skin a cat. V cut and seperate. My thoughts are however. Cutting is now taking over the process. Spreading is now used a lot less than it used to be. Alan

        Comment


        • #5
          We recently experienced these same difficulties on two seperate occasions. Unfortunately, I didn't bother to take note of the types of vehicles. But, on both situations we were unable to cut through the "B post" with our TNT cutters. These were both on sedan type vehicles.

          Whitey
          Situation dictates proceedure!

          Margate Fire Rescue Extrication Team
          www.fdwhitey.com

          Comment


          • #6
            We Recently Purchased A New Circular Saw (name Withheld, Not Trying To Advertise) With A 9 Inch Blade And I'll Tell You What, That Thing Cuts Through Metal Like It Was Butter. Nothing Has Stopped It Yet!

            Comment


            • #7
              Have you used this saw on a vehicle where there was significant damage? Does it perform as well when there is tension on the posts?

              Whitey
              Situation dictates proceedure!

              Margate Fire Rescue Extrication Team
              www.fdwhitey.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Fdwhitey...

                Go To The Thread On This Forum Called "new Saw For Rescue" And Read All Of Page 3. Lots Of Opinions And Experiences There. So Far No Problems For Us To Cut Anything Except Some Areas Of Severe Crumble And The Depth Of Cut Is 3 Inches So Some C And D Posts Need To Be Followed Up With A Recip To Cut Moldings And Such.

                Comment


                • #9
                  if you are referring to the same saw i'm thinking of, there's a cool video of it taking a roof off at: http://www.res-q-jack.com/rescue_saw/

                  they list depth of cut as 3.25"

                  i've used it and it works great if you power it correctly. i've seen where people have underpowered it and it won't spin fast enough, but when powered correctly, it spins like a top and does some serious cutting !

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I did a presentation for our department on all this new airbag and structural technology a few months ago. It was a real eye opener for a lot of people. The traditional way everyone learned how to cut up cars was cutting the posts as low as possible and you have nothing left but seats and a floor.

                    Now it is cut as high as possible on the post, if you can even cut the post at all. Throw in the 12 airbags, 400 volt silent drive hybrids, etc and their heads were spinning.
                    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      cpsfd1...
                      Yep, thats the saw...I am impressed with it and it cuts just like the video.

                      I don't know if you noticed the tech jumping on the hood to take the windshield...
                      I skip that part and just hand the saw off to the guy on the other side of the car

                      My hood jumpin days are behind me!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FDWhitey View Post
                        We recently experienced these same difficulties on two seperate occasions. Unfortunately, I didn't bother to take note of the types of vehicles. But, on both situations we were unable to cut through the "B post" with our TNT cutters. These were both on sedan type vehicles.

                        Whitey
                        I have heard a lot of good things about TNT, so this is a bit surprising.

                        Has anyone gotten their hands on the new B.E.A.S.T. tool that Champion has come out with and tried it on the "exotic metals" cars yet? Everything I am hearing about this tool leads me to believe it might have what it takes to defeat these odd situations.
                        Richard Nester
                        Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

                        "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

                        Comment

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