Total Sidewall Removal

SUBJECT: Total Sidewall Removal TOPIC: "Blowing Out the B-Pillar" Evolution OBJECTIVE: Remove both doors and B-pillar on one side of a four-door vehicle TASK: Given a simulation of two jammed doors on one side of a four-door vehicle, the entire sidewall...


SUBJECT: Total Sidewall Removal TOPIC: "Blowing Out the B-Pillar" Evolution OBJECTIVE: Remove both doors and B-pillar on one side of a four-door vehicle TASK: Given a simulation of two jammed doors on one side of a four-door vehicle, the entire sidewall shall be removed using the...


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Cut is the fourth and final step of the blow out process. While one rescuer was blowing out the pillar with the spreader, the partner cut the seatbelt and stripped away the upper trim on the B-pillar near the roofline. Once the blow out occurs, the cutter person moves into position to cut through the B-pillar at the roofline. This cut disconnects the pillar and allows the entire sidewall, now a double-wide door and pillar unit, to be widened 180 degrees by brute force until it touches the front fender. The entire double-wide can be totally removed, although rescuers must remember that removal is not always an essential step. Don't take time to cut the door off at the hinges if that time could be better used removing a critical trauma patient who is now completely accessible.

The task is completed by covering the sharps high and low where any jagged exposed metal was created during the evolution. Sharps hazard areas include the B-pillar stub at the roofline and the low stub at the rocker channel, the rear door latch if metal has torn, and the front door hinges if the sidewall is completely removed.

With practice, your team will be able to accomplish this within an impressively short period of time. "Above Average" benchmark time is two minutes or less from start to finish. An '"Acceptable" benchmark time is three minutes and 30 seconds or less. If it's taking you longer than that to remove the sidewall, you need better tools or more training.

"Blowing out the B-pillar" evolution tactics include:

  • Vehicle stabilization
  • Patient "sharps" protection and safety
  • Confirmation that both doors and truly jammed
  • Removal of side window glass
  • Cut/remove seatbelts
  • Open rear door at latch
  • Cut B-pillar below bottom rear door hinge
  • Blow out B-pillar with spreader at rocker channel
  • Remove interior trim panel from B-pillar
  • Cut top of B-pillar at roofline, widen the "double-wide" door assembly on the front door's hinges
  • Apply sharps protection to cover exposed metal
  • (Optional) Remove total sidewall at front door hinges

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.