As the front door of a roof-resting vehicle begins to open, the full window frame will most likely contact the ground and limit the ability of the door to open.
Photo credit: Photo by Ron Moore
In part one of this door-opening series, we addressed a quick technique for setting up a jammed door when the vehicle you are working on is resting on its roof. Pinching the rocker with the tips of a power spreader caused the rocker to crush. This created a gap along the bottom edge of the door, which served as a purchase point for the spreader to attack the door and force it open.
In this University of Extrication column, the vehicle is again roof-resting and it has been stabilized. A front door is jammed and a two-rescuer team has been assigned to open it. The patient and inside rescuer are protected and the rescuer is aware of the jammed door task being performed by you and your partner.
Tempered glass has been broken out and the door has now been forced open at the latch. This is the point where, with a roof-resting vehicle, the design of a typical front door can cause a concern.
Most roof-resting sedan vehicles are engine heavy and when on their roof, they will settle with their hood in contact with the ground. This positioning causes a unique concern when rescue personnel have to open either front door. Generally the metal window frame of the door will contact the ground almost as soon as the door begins to open. This contact prevents the door from opening fully and hinders access to the patient and the door hinges for rescue personnel.
To address this, rescue personnel must first recognize that the door they are forcing open has a full metal window frame and then take action to address this situation. One rescuer can cut the window frame at one point near either end. The partner can then bend the frame up and away from the ground. This allows the door to open fully without contacting the ground. Instead of cutting once and bending, the operator of the cutting tool could cut the window frame at both ends and completely remove it.
Cutting and bending or cutting and removing the entire frame will allow the front door to open enough to either extricate the patient or provide enough access to the hinges to allow spreading or cutting the door off the vehicle.
TASK: A two-member rescue team shall utilize tools to open up a simulated jammed front door of a roof-resting vehicle, widen the door fully, then completely remove it from the vehicle.