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  • A Controversial FD Policy?

    A question from Central NY State chief officer forces me into a reply that may seem controversial. So without further delay, here's the question and my reply;

    -----Original Message-----
    Question? I do not allow people to drive their car from a MVA if the air bag (s) have deployed. I feel the air bag will interfere with their ability to steer the car. Are there any of the cars out there that will not start or run after air bag deployment? I disconnect the battery on all mvas with air bag deployment but got questioned about their ability to start and run after they have deployed. Thank you.

    ----------Reply ---------------
    You should change your protocols.

    For electrical shutdown, two options are disconnecting or 'double cutting' cables. Cut for urgency. Disconnect for customer service.

    If a vehicle owner signs a medical release form and wants to drive their vehicle away, you should accommodate them. OK it with PD, then re-connect the battery and get out of their way.

    If a deployed driver's airbag is a concern, cut away the nylon bag. It would have to be replaced anyway.

    The primary reason a slightly damaged vehicle will not run is the inertia switch in the fuel system shut down as a safety measure. They're generally along the inside rear fenderwell area inside the trunk. I've even reset these to get the car running again.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

  • #2
    We do the same thing here. As long we have no hazard and the PD ok's removal of the vehicle...off they go.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

    Comment


    • #3
      Controversial Policy

      Heres a question for you. What about vehicles that have front end damage with NO airbag deployment. Should we let the owner drive that vehicle away?
      As an Asst. Chief, I tell the owners that do want to drive their vehicles away of the dangers of the sudden deployment of the airbags. And that there is the possibity that the airbag could deploy. I then explain how an airbag works and the speed at which bags deploy. This sometimes changes their minds and they have the vehicle towed.
      This is just my two cents.
      Thanks
      Last edited by badtude20; 12-05-2006, 02:36 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        dangers of the sudden deployment of the airbags
        Are you suggesting that it's possible or even remotely probable that since they have prior front end damage, the air bag inertia sensors may just suddenly trip and activate the air bags?
        "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

        Comment


        • #5
          If the PD okays it then off they go. People dont want to pay the tow charge and the storage fees. 90% of the time if the vehicle is able to move and the driver has no injuries they will have the driver move the vehicle from the roadway prior to arrival of FD to protect themselves the the responding units.

          Comment


          • #6
            As Ron said this one could be very Controversial.

            If a vehicle owner signs a medical release form and wants to drive their vehicle away, you should accommodate them. OK it with PD, then re-connect the battery and get out of their way.

            Unless the vehicle is legally impounded the owner has the right to choose their own wrecker service or drive the car.
            If I was in doubt about their safety and they insisted on driving it, I would make them sign a note, releasing me of responsibility just to cover the department and myself later down the line.

            Ron
            If a deployed driver's airbag is a concern, cut away the nylon bag. It would have to be replaced anyway.


            Because of what we teach about working around a dual stage bag and cutting it, some may be concerned here about what year and model is the vehicle, if we cut the deployed bag away, is the driver going to get down the road and a second stage go off and hit him in the face with a blast of hot nitrogen and partials?

            Badtude20
            Here’s a question for you. What about vehicles that have front end damage with NO airbag deployment. Should we let the owner drive that vehicle away?
            As an Asst. Chief, I tell the owners that do want to drive their vehicles away of the dangers of the sudden deployment of the airbags. And that there is the possibility that the airbag could deploy.


            But we must look at another thought that covers both of these.
            If the front end is damaged and did not deploy the airbag can a damaged sensor later set it off? Or if we cut the bag can the second stage be set off?

            Anything is Possible, but very highly unlikely in both, because in order to deploy the airbag, the control module must receive 1 signal from the crash sensor AND a second signal from the arming or safeing sensor in order to deploy the bag and both of these must register at the same time. (within the 6-13 ms it takes to deploy the bag.)
            It would most likely take a second crash to do that.

            Like Ron, I would cut the bag, then get my release signed and tell the guy to have a better day.
            http://www.midsouthrescue.org
            Is it time to change our training yet ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Why would the FD release a car after a traffic collision? That is a police matter and none of my business. I will assist if advised they are going to drive (reconnect batteries, cut bags, tape up trim etc)

              Comment


              • #8
                We have no legal authority to keep people from leaving an accident; after all, we’re not law enforcement. If someone tries to leave, are you going to try to stop them, and if you do try, how will you? We have no powers of arrest, unless you’re a marshal. Our job at an accident is for first aid, unless your department has a different role. Here, if the people don’t want our help, we pick up; we don’t disconnect the battery, or take any other action for that matter, unless they want first aid.
                We do assist the police if they request, such as flushing fluids, etc. If someone wants to drive a vehicle that is ‘unsafe’, the police should handle that. It is their job, after all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A long time ago we let a local "customer"drive away from a seemingly minor MVA.This particular individual happens to be a regular shop customer.He called up and made an appointment to have his van checked the next day complaining of "it handles funny".On the rack we discovered the steering box had BROKEN OFF THE FRAME.Thru the undercoat it wasn't real obvious.Since then vehicles with visible(Ie something besides a bumper tap) damage are towed.Period.Local PD has no problems handling that part of it for us.As far as the "release" Lee suggests:At least in this State it isn't worth the paper it's printed on.Other locals may differ.On newer vehicles it doesn't take a very big hit to seriously alter the steering/suspension components.If anything happens guess who you're going to see next? I guess I'd rather have them unhappy with the tow bill. T.C.
                  Last edited by Rescue101; 12-07-2006, 10:34 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To the best of my knowledge our dept does not get involved in whether a vehicle is safe to drive or needs to be towed. The deputy that works the wreck is the one that calls for a tow truck or releases the vehicle to the owner not the FD. On a personal level I have a serious problem with allowing someone to drive away from a wreck if its anything other than a bumper tap. We have no way of telling what has been damaged on the vehicle and while things may look okay the alignment and suspension could be damaged enough to cause the vehicle to be unstable/undriveable.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm under the assumption that according to NYS V&T laws, a vehicle with a deployed airbag will NOT pass a New York State Vehicle Safety Inspection. Why would the FD (we really have no authority to release the vehicle to the owner, that's law enforcement's job) or the law enforcement officer allow an unsafe vehicle to be driven away?
                      Chief Jim Bator
                      www.hopewellfire.org

                      IACOJ
                      Got Crust?
                      FTM-PTB


                      I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine. ~Kurt Vonnegut

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JJBat150
                        I'm under the assumption that according to NYS V&T laws, a vehicle with a deployed airbag will NOT pass a New York State Vehicle Safety Inspection. Why would the FD (we really have no authority to release the vehicle to the owner, that's law enforcement's job) or the law enforcement officer allow an unsafe vehicle to be driven away?


                        You are correct under the NYS V&TL if the airbag is deployed it is deemed "unsafe" and is illegal to drive. Luckily over here we work with SP. If its a very minor fender bender and there are no injuries no leaking fluids, broken windows etc.. . They let the driver drive it away.

                        If the airbag is deployed, leaking fluids, ANY injury that requires medical attention the car gets towed

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a problem with allowing a person to drive away in a vehicle where the structural integrity of the safety system has been compromised! If the seat was partially ripped would you allow them to drive away then? More so would you want another fire dept to allow your 16 or 17 year old son or daughter to leave the scene in a vehicle where this has occured? I will always error on the side of caution.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Over my many years as a fire/rescue guy, I have noticed one trend that gets more of our people in trouble than anything else...

                            When we act outside of our scope of duties for which we are trained.

                            When a firefighter tries to play cop and pull over a drunk driver, when a fire officer tries to help the local cheerleaders by wetting them down after the last practice of the year (by coaches request) but uses the deck gun without thinking and puts half the kids in the hospital.(remember that story a few years back?).

                            As chief of rescue for my town, it is not within my duties or responsiblities to make half assed car repairs for the convenience of the drivers. If you are crazy enough to drive off in a vehicle that has been in an accident without a qualified mechanic looking it over...well God bless.

                            I face enough liability each day without inviting any more.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What he said...

                              We can certainly reccomend to the driver to get it towed, but we have no authority to stop the driver from leaving. I would certainly discourage it, if for no other reason than that fact that driver is now driving away with no airbag protection, but I wouldn't BS the guy with false "Authority".

                              Call the PO if you think it really needs to be addressed, but don't get into a fight over it.
                              Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

                              IACOJ

                              Comment

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