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  • Impaled Brake Pedal

    Received a question based on a scenario presented by an Illinois fire officer.

    The situation was...
    I was recently involved in an extrication of a male adult from a late 90's Chevy pickup with heavy driver side damage. The male drivers lower leg had been impaled by the emergency brake pedal. Extrication began with an attempt to cut the pedal with a mini hydraulic cutter. The patient experienced great pain from the cutter rotating and pushing on the pedal.

    A suggestion was made to use a saws-all or a hand hacksaw to cut the pedal. This suggestion was immediately dismissed as a bad idea. My observation is that many people seem blinded by the use of hydraulic tools. Many people seem to refuse to use simple hand tools to speed patient extrication. The patient was removed 45 minutes later after painkillers had been given and the pedal cut with hydraulic cutters.

    My question as an instructor is how can I prevent people from falling into this trap of using hydraulic tools only. The driver of this truck was not trapped in any other way. The top was removed to aid in access. The only thing preventing his removal was this brake pedal. There was sufficient room for a skilled user to cut the pedal with a saws-all or hand saw.

    There seems to be a great reluctance to admit that sometimes the best tool is the simplest one. This reluctance has added significant time to the extrication that could have been used for treatment.

    Again , how do you prevent your people from becoming tunnel visioned.


    My reply is...
    You should have gone ahead and cut the pedal shaft with a recip saw or the cutter. I've done this with an impaled emergency brake pedal on a guy who's car was completely run over by an 18-wheeler. He bitched and moaned at me the whole time but in 60 seconds it was all over and done.

    The tunnel vision problem is easy to expose, but until officers change their mindset, it will be hard to change in the Real world. In a training scenario, simply take the list of vehicle rescue tasks you normally do at a crash scene and do all those jobs without any power hydraulics. That should be an eye-opener.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

  • #2
    Other options are disassembly, if possible and a wizzer or muffler saw....whatever ya call em. Sawzall would work as long as it didnt bind and jar the pedal badly. The issue with sawzalls is the poor or no training many have with them. I also have told patients that what we are doing is gonna hurt, but we had to do it anyway.

    Comment


    • #3
      Other options are disassembly

      Most brake paddle assemblies has three bolts holding them to the A pillar if we remove them, we can just cut the cable above the assembly without moving the leg.

      It is surprising to us that do a lot of studying and teaching about these things but saw-sols, air chisels, and strut systems are still very new tools to most firefighters including officers. Firefighters are known for doing things the way they were taught, and for years hydraulics is what we taught.
      The only way to really make a change is to, like Ron said teach the newer people.

      And raise up a new generation of rescuers.
      Last edited by LeeJunkins; 01-20-2007, 07:42 PM.
      http://www.midsouthrescue.org
      Is it time to change our training yet ?

      Comment


      • #4
        My first choice would be an electric band saw if you have one. They are smooth fast and have very little vibration if there is not enough room i would use a wizzer saw with a good heat sink on the pedal.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi,

          Been there a few times and I have to agree with you guys that the job has to be done... Sure it's gonna hurt for a few minute (just wait 'till those andorphins drop, then you'll meet with real pain... ) but it's better than 45 minutes traped in place.

          I've nerver seen a situation though that we had enough room to work a sawsall or an hydraulic tool. We have a small manual hydraulic cuter that works very well in those situation.

          Regards,

          Sly

          Comment


          • #6
            Train to prevent tunnel vision

            I agree that having hydraulic tools readily available has led to tunnel vision, especially in the younger FF's that have never had to do extrication with out the big tools. When I started we thought a Porta Power was really cutting edge.
            One way to prevent that is to drill with out using the hydraulics. We try to do this at least twice a year in my department. The training officer says we can use any tool on our rescue other than the hydraulics. It does make for some interesting ideas. You definately find out who the real and shade tree mechanics are versus those that only know to just spread and cut.
            I do like LeeJunkins idea of disassemly, because that was my first idea, provided you can get enough room to do it with out comprimising yours or the patients safety.
            "Your spill is our thrill."

            Comment


            • #7
              Our department has a specialized brake-cutter tool for just this purpose. The cutting end is shaped like a c-clamp, but the upper part is an anvil. The lower, moving part, has a blade. It is actuated through a hand pump, almost identical to one on a rabbit tool. It can cut a brake pedal out in under 30 seconds with no jarring, twisting, or other misery. It sounds like RDL210 has the same tool.

              Comment


              • #8
                Who makes it and who sells it?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AC1503 View Post
                  Who makes it and who sells it?
                  Hurst rabbit tool with the "c" cutter attachment
                  Rescue Co. 1

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hurst pedal cutter works well on the brake and clutch pedals but can release a fair amount of energy when it fractures the metal. The emergency brake is usually some stamped steel, tried to cut a few in training and it just crimped it down. I'd opt for the sawzall with some VERY firm manual stabilization of the limb and pedal.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When ever we do extrication training, there is always at least one evolution that we start with hydraulics and then kill the pump. Tell the extircation team that the pump has suffer catostrophic failure, now finish the job. Gets people thinking and realizing that other tools work just as well.
                      Just for fun we usually have a race to remove a roof as well, one team has hydraulics the other anything but. Usually finish within 30 seconds of each other.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Gotta teach people that hydraulics aren't the be all end all solution to every extrication problem.

                        Instructors should be actively teaching segments on non-hydraulic extrication with hand and air tools.

                        Maybe I got a very good deal when I took my AVET, but we were taught and practices a lot of things people are complaining about when it comes to extrication lately.
                        JLS
                        MFC
                        51 Pride - R.I.P. Sandy
                        Alarm 200644004, I won't ever forget.


                        Remember you only have 1*.

                        IACOJ

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by brozt316 View Post
                          Hurst rabbit tool with the "c" cutter attachment
                          Be carefull with that tool. Ours had a plastic pivot (handle area) and a plastic sleeve the piston went through. It failed a couple of weeks ago during an extrication and actually bent the piston. It needs to have a metal pivot handle point.
                          The evidence of God's presence far outweighs the
                          proof of His absence.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I love seeing the old race between hydraulics, and electric/hand tools.

                            Most are surprised that the hand tools can be quicker in the majority of straightforward evolutions.
                            Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

                            IACOJ

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Pedal cutter

                              We just acquired the Holmatro pedal cutter. It may be the answer although we have only tried it on brake pedals and steering wheels. It is a "C" cutter with a hand pump like a porta power. When we used it on brake pedals it cut so cleanly and quickly we were not sure it worked. We could hold a steering wheel in our hands and cut it. I will try it on an emergency pedal and post a new thread when I know how it did.

                              Comment

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