Battery and Electrical System Management

SUBJECT: Battery and Electrical System Management TOPIC: Battery Shutdown Protocol OBJECTIVE: The rescue team shall develop a set of standardized procedures for safe and effective shutdown of a fire or crash-damaged vehicles' electrical system based...


SUBJECT: Battery and Electrical System Management TOPIC: Battery Shutdown Protocol OBJECTIVE: The rescue team shall develop a set of standardized procedures for safe and effective shutdown of a fire or crash-damaged vehicles' electrical system based upon vehicle condition, position and...


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Check the vehicle again to make sure it is not receiving electrical power, then...

VI. Report Power Shutdown Assignment Complete to Command

A standard benchmark for documentation of vehicle rescue activities should consist of a radio transmission to the communications center documenting vehicle power shutdown.

Totally shutting down a vehicle's electrical system does not ensure that loaded airbags inside the damaged vehicle will not accidentally deploy. Disconnecting the battery early in our rescue activities is, however, the most effective means of minimizing the potential for loaded airbag deployment, inadvertent electrical short circuits, or other unwanted events. Vehicle rescue is still a gamble against time for both the patient and the rescuer. By managing a vehicle's electrical system, as professionals, we are simply minimizing our risks.

TASK: Given an acquired vehicle for training purposes, the rescuer team shall practice the various procedural steps listed in a new or revised electrical system shutdown protocol developed from this University of Extrication column.

RON MOORE, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a battalion chief and the training officer 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.