New Vehicle Technology

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These standards state that the vehicle manufacturers must meet a minimum requirement to limit crush Intrusion into the passenger impairment thus reducing overall injuries to vehicle occupants. The use of ultra High Strength Steel or multiple layers of steel to repel crush forces from crash Impact has become the solution to absorb and inhibit these forces. FUMES 216 doubles the current roof strength requirement for light vehicles weighing up to 6,000 pounds.

It specifies that both the driver and passenger sides of the roof must be capable of withstanding a force equal to three times the weight of the vehicle. The tougher roof crush requirements are part of a comprehensive plan to address rollover crashes, which kill about 10,000 people annually. Quite a number of high-end luxury vehicles have met this standard previously but now this will become mandatory even for entry-level vehicles.

This is great news as a consumer, but poses a challenge for rescuers extricating patients from these vehicles especially when crash forces at higher speeds are even beyond the limits of these exotic metals. Although we are seeing people walk away from crashes that would normally be fatal in the past, It does lead some drivers to believe that “the safer my car is, the faster I can drive and still be protected”. Unfortunately this mind set is hat keeps us rescuers in business.

Not only is the steel in new vehicles changing, but also the size and shape of A-B and C pillars of the roof section are becoming much larger. This has an impact on our hydraulic cutting capabilities as a larger post may not allow the material to be drawn In close to the cutters blade centre where the most severing force Is generated. The good news is that most hydraulic tool manufactures are working to improve overall performance of their cutters to meet the ever-changing enhanced materials in new vehicles, and a few redesigned cutters have recently been released.

Hallmark, Hurst, TNT, and Genesis all have tools that can generate cutting forces well above the 200,000-SSL range. Supplemental restraint systems are more prevalent than ever. The majority of vehicles built after 2006 come equipped with a minimum of 6 airbags. Roof curtain compressed gas cylinders typically had pressures of 3000-4000 SSI, within the last two years we are seeing cylinder pressures as high as 9300 SSI. Inadvertently cut into one of those bad boys and you will find out what a bad day really is for you and your patients.

The locations of these high pressure cylinders are ending their way into unsuspecting places as well, underneath trunk decks, (Audio, Infinite) Inside rear quarter panels (mini cooper) anywhere along the roofline, (Ford, have up to 4 cylinders hidden in the roof structure or elsewhere. Almost anywhere you cut into a vehicle today you can expect to find a surprise. Peeling back the plastic trim to have a look for these hazards inside the vehicle is a must for all cutting evolutions today.

But there is help to assist us in making our Jobs a little faster and safer; a program called Crash Recovery Software by Modified Rescue Solutions allows the rescuer to have access to a database of 25,000 vehicles via a mobile laptop or onboard PC. This important information will show the locations of batteries and their drain down times, seat belt pretensions, all supplemental restraint systems, cylinder locations, high strength steel locations, hood and trunk access levers, high voltage hybrid components, magnesium locations in case of fire, etc.

Current monthly updates are available via an Internet connection. Technical Manager J¶org Heck from Modified says “The solution for effective extractions today is the combination of rained personnel that have a basic understand about vehicle technology, trained to use their tools properly, suitable rescue equipment especially a powerful hydraulic cutter and vehicle information, the more you know about the vehicle you’re working on the better. ” Check out www. Modified. Mom Another cost effective and useful information tool is the Hybrid shutdown manual from Hybrid Hazards Co. This handy booklet has 26 Hybrid Emergency Response Guides laid out in an easy to read format that can be referenced at any hybrid vehicle incident, for more info see www. Hybridism’s. Mom A few other issues that affect rescuers in the current economic downturn is departmental budget restraints for out of Jurisdiction training opportunities. This directly impacts the ability to stay abreast with up to date techniques and education.

However, there are a number of credible extrication instructors that are willing to travel to your area, which will allow neighboring departments to pool there resources together and host Joint training sessions to minimize the financial impact. One other benefit that should not be overlooked during the hard economic times is he price of scrap metal is at one of its lowest value in decades, this translates into an abundance of salvage vehicles available for training rather than straight to the weigh scales for cash.

Notably large trucks such as older concrete mixers, bulk hauling trailers, conventional cab oversee etc, have also temporarily lost their scrap value. With a little coaxing, trucking companies are more willing to part with them if it is known that they will be used for a fire dept training initiative. Let’s hear what a few of the top extrication specialists from across North America eave to say about current and future issues that confront rescuers. The following questions were posed to a few colleagues of mine: “What are some of the biggest obstacles that rescues face today with vehicle rescue”? Vehicle construction and the materials they are made of will increasingly frustrate us operationally. Even now how many of us have run into a vehicle that has frustrated tool evolutions that worked well in the past or even ran into something we couldn’t sever? As Memos design vehicles to improve occupant protection and structural strength while saving on rate space and facilitate a path to disentangle occupants. We might even need to “create” interior space Just to work on our patients on a regular basis.

While spreaders will always have their place on scene I believe the tool of the future will be the power hydraulic cutter since I believe we will be forced to cut more often and more components. Even the power hydraulic ram will find new “life” as we will need to “cross-ram” to re-proportion the vehicle interior more often. Our friend the reciprocating saw, while a great tool all it’s own, will need new blades to handle the trials Memos are placing into vehicles even now’.

Dave Dillydally, Educational chairmen for the Transport Emergency Rescue Committee USA and president of Roadway Rescue “How do you deal with the new materials in vehicles such Ultra High Strength Steels”? ” The best way to deal with the presence of exotic style metals is through vehicle manufacturer specifications. Knowing which vehicles carry which type of metals and their locations. This information can be found on vehicle manufactures websites, online extrication forums and such as T. E. r. C. USA or World Rescue Organization (WAR). The best way to handle these metals is to avoid them! Dan Zinged – District Chief Palm Harbor Florida 2008 T. E. r. C. International Vehicle Rescue Challenge winner ; Top Incident Commander recipient “What is the biggest challenge rescuers face with vehicle extrication today? ” “I feel that the greatest challenge to responders performing extrication is not the obvious: exotic metals, high voltage, or complex vehicle construction. It is responders not receiving training allowing them to “think outside of the box”, and relying solely on heavy hydraulic rescue tools. All other challenges can be safely overcome with proper raining.

Realizing that there is more than one way to do something, making the best use of manpower and utilizing the best tool for the Job is being proactive. Hand and power tools can often out perform heavy hydraulics, unfortunately this is not being taught by many instructors simply because of time allowed in a basic skills program. The reliance of heavy hydraulics during training is being passed on to students and when situations warrant the use of hand and power tools they may sometimes be overlooked. Not knowing how to properly use all rescue equipment impedes the efficiency of the rescue. ” Ron Shaw from Extrication.

Com “If vehicles are being made safer for the occupants, will patient entrapment be as much of an issue for the fire service in the future? ” “After talking to the automotive design engineers, I believe that the number of entrapments will increase greatly in the next few years. The vehicles are being built with tighter and tighter tolerances so any distortion of the vehicle body will cause the panels to Jam. On top of that they are putting more and more electronic systems like ‘pods, navigation equipment, cell phones and blackberry’s etc, hat require the driver to constantly change dials and push buttons.

Vehicles are built so that the doors will not come open in the crash, but there are no regulations that state the door must be able to be opened after the wreck. Smaller and lighter means more loss of control and more vehicles hitting trees and bridges. More testing means more head-on crashes, and statistics show that more kids are drinking and doing drugs at a younger age. All of these things will ensure that firefighters have a job”. Todd Hoffman from Scene of the Accident Until next time…. Keep your head up

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