Cable Median Barriers — Part 2

  SUBJECT: Cable Median Barriers — Part 2 TOPIC: Cable Median Barrier Incident Procedures OBJECTIVE: Responders shall develop procedures for operations at center median incidents when a vehicle is contacting or entangled in tensioned...


  SUBJECT: Cable Median Barriers — Part 2 TOPIC: Cable Median Barrier Incident Procedures OBJECTIVE: Responders shall develop procedures for operations at center median incidents when a vehicle is contacting or entangled in tensioned cables TASK: The rescue...


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Decision Point 7 requires responders to locate and prepare a suitable cut location. Your first choice for a location to cut should be a nearby turnbuckle itself. Prior to cutting, releasing tension at the turnbuckle should be completed. Cutting the turnbuckle instead of the cable makes it easier for transportation department personnel to repair the damaged system after the incident is cleared. If it is the cable itself that must be cut, multiple wraps of duct tape should be applied on both sides of the cut location to minimize fraying of the strands of the wire rope as it is cut. The location where you will cut the turnbuckle or the cable itself should be between two intact support poles where the cables are all running parallel and are not twisted or stressed.

Once the cut location is determined, the incident safety officer can establish a hazard zone and clear it of all personnel. The rescuer cutting the cable will obviously be the only person near the cable. It is understood that the rescuer doing the cutting will be in full PPE, including eye protection, full face protection and wearing heavy-duty gloves.

Decision Point 8, the cutting process, is begun once all preparations have been completed. A rescuer can use a rotary saw with an abrasive blade or a power rescue cutter to cut through the turnbuckle or the steel cable. Research has shown that when a cable is cut between two undamaged, intact support posts, the cable retracts straight back about 15 feet toward the posts in each direction.

TASK: The rescue team shall develop a department guideline for incidents with vehicles in contact with the cable median barrier system based on the model eight-step procedure presented.

RON MOORE, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is training chief for the McKinney, TX, Fire Department. He also authors a monthly online article in the Firehouse.com "MembersZone" and serves as the Forum Moderator for the extrication section of the Firehouse.com website. Moore can be contacted directly at Rmoore@firehouse.com.

Model Decision-making Protocol: Cable Median Barrier Incidents

Decision Point 1. Determine whether a cable median barrier system is present at the collision scene.

Decision Point 2. Determine whether the damaged vehicles are contacting any cables.

Decision Point 3. Determine to what degree the cables are obstructing the crash-damaged vehicles.

Decision Point 4. Determine whether the obstructing cables can be moved manually.

Decision Point 5. Relax the tension on the obstructing cable in a controlled manner, then re-try moving the obstructing cable.

Decision Point 6. Manually move or remove the supporting posts, then re-try moving the obstructing cable.

If the cable still obstructs, prepare for the "last resort" tactic of cutting the turnbuckle or the cable itself.

Decision Point 7. Locate and prepare a suitable cut location. Cut at the point located at the turnbuckle or at the cable between two intact support poles. Ensure that all cables are running parallel and are not twisted or stressed. Tension is released at the turnbuckle. A hazard zone is established and cleared of non-essential personnel. The rescuer with the cutting tool is in full PPE, including eye protection, full face protection, and wearing heavy-duty gloves. Multiple wraps of duct tape are applied on both sides of the cable cut location.

Decision Point 8. Use rotary saw with an abrasive blade or a power rescue cutter to cut through the turnbuckle or the steel cable.