SUBJECT: Hybrid Vehicle Emergencies TOPIC: 2010 Model-Year Toyota Prius Gasoline-Electric Hybrid OBJECTIVE: Given a 2010-model Toyota Prius vehicle at a new-car dealership for inspection, the rescue team will study and be able to identify relevant vehicle occupant safety features and...
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Because of the electronic gearshift selector feature, responders inside the vehicle will not see a conventional column-mounted gear selector lever. Instead they will observe a short gear selector knob on the center console. At an emergency incident where the task is to simply assure that the vehicle is in Park, the responder should locate a separate button labeled with the letter "P" that is just above and to the left of the gear selector lever. Pressing this button engages the electro-mechanical parking brake system. There is also the common mechanical emergency brake pedal that can be pushed to set the rear emergency brakes.
Inside the vehicle, the now-familiar Toyota keyless ignition system is a standard feature. The occupant of the vehicle will have the remote key fob on their person; it may not be readily visible when you make patient contact at an incident. There is no ignition key cylinder on the column and no slot in the instrument panel to insert the Toyota Smart Key unit. The vehicle starts and shuts off by the push of the large "power" button along the right side of the column. Responders must realize that the inside rescuer must press the "power" button once to shut off the vehicle. The small LED light on the button will go out as will the green "ready" light in the center dashboard display area when the vehicle is shut down.
The 38-page Toyota ERG for this new Prius is filled with good, common sense suggestions and recommendations for dealing with a 2010 Prius emergency. A wise rescuer will study this guide closely and become familiar with the many features of the new Prius and how the vehicle can be efficiently and properly dealt with. A site visit to a local Toyota dealership that has a Prius available will greatly enhance your preparation for the challenges of a hybrid vehicle emergency.
TASK: The rescue team shall develop operating guidelines for safely and efficiently managing a vehicle fire, injury collision, or entrapment emergency involving a 2010 model-year Toyota Prius.
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.