During frontal collisions, it is possible that the front/dashboard area can become displaced on top of the victim in the vehicle. In this scenario, it will be necessary to “push” the dashboard off of the victim. Access to the vehicle’s rocker panel and “B” post assembly is a necessity. A hydraulic extension ram is placed between the “A” post and the “B” post in a diagonal position; the cylinder/base of the ram is placed at the bottom of the “B” post, while the traveling/extension end is placed on the “A” post, just below the top of the dashboard. If no “B” post is present, it may be possible to clamp the hydraulic spreaders to the rocker channel to use as a base for the ram (photo 7). It is more efficient to utilize two rams, one on each side of the vehicle, but if only one is available, then it should be placed on the side dictated by the medical needs of the victim.
At this point of the maneuver, an important question is raised: Is there a need for a relief cut in the bottom of the “A” post? The deciding factor is based on the needed travel of the dashboard assembly. If the front of the vehicle is displaced, and the victim can be removed by restoring the dashboard back to the original position, then the relief cut may not be needed. However, if the lower extremities of the victim are entangled in the pedal assemblies, then it will be necessary to displace the dashboard beyond its original location to access the pedal area. In the latter case, a relief cut would be needed to facilitate this space (photo 8).
The skills and techniques presented here are some of the more common maneuvers that rescuers have utilized in the successful disentanglements of many victims. They are also building blocks for more intricate maneuvers that may be required on-scene. Next month, we will discuss a few different techniques that can add speed, space and efficiency to your rescue teams’ operations.
Until next time, stay focused and stay safe.
- See Michael Daley Live! Michael P. Daley will be teaching "Firefighting Operations in Strip Malls and Taxpayers" at Firehouse World, in San Diego, on March 1, 2011.