Hood Forcible Entry

SUBJECT: Extrication Skills Scenario TOPIC: Hood Forcible Entry OBJECTIVE: Given an acquired junk vehicle and tools and equipment carried by the department, the rescuer will develop alternative techniques for forcing entry on a closed and latched vehicle hood. TASK: The rescue team...


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SUBJECT:

Extrication Skills Scenario

TOPIC: Hood Forcible Entry

OBJECTIVE: Given an acquired junk vehicle and tools and equipment carried by the department, the rescuer will develop alternative techniques for forcing entry on a closed and latched vehicle hood.

TASK: The rescue team shall use tools carried on apparatus that typically responds to vehicle-related incidents to force entry into the engine compartment area of an acquired vehicle as if to accomplish electrical system shutdown; however, the hood must remain latched during the entire training evolution.

In this training evolution, the participants simulate that they have been given the task of shutting down the electrical system of a vehicle at a crash scene. The assumption is that the battery on this vehicle is under the hood, within the engine compartment. The rescue team must work with any available tools carried by the department to open the hood which is closed and latched at the start of this training task.

To complicate matters a bit and to add a degree of challenge to a seemingly simple task, the hood must remain latched throughout the entire evolution. This complication causes the crew to explore alternative techniques for opening a hood that maybe they haven't thought about. Instead of just popping the hood at the latch, the challenge this time is to learn what to do if the latch attack technique that we use so often wouldn't work for some reason.

With the hood of the junk vehicle latched, the team may try the corner pry technique. This task is accomplished by taking the pick of a Halligan bar and driving it into and through the layers of the hood metal about 12 inches diagonally in from the front corner of the hood. With a strong effort from a tall rescuer, the Halligan bar is pried up, causing the corner of the hood to bend up. If the battery is right there, right under the exact corner of the hood, then possibly the cables could be accessed and dealt with. My luck when I do this is I either puncture the battery with the pick or it's on the other side and I have to repeat the whole corner-bending thing.

Another access technique may find the crew with a rotary saw and an abrasive blade. Two cuts in an upside-down V pattern on both sides of the hood latch may be able to cut the hood free from the latch. The front chunk of hood stays latched just like the task requires as the hood itself opens. It's something to at least try to see if you like it.

Eventually, someone in the group will think "work smarter, not harder" and you'll be onto yet another alternative technique that is really very efficient and has a high probability of success. Someone will remember that the hoods on almost all U.S. vehicles are hinged at their rear corners. If those hinges could be exposed and cut completely in two, the entire hood could be lifted up from back to front, actually hinging on the front latch. With two easy "prys" and two quick cuts, you can safely gain complete access to the entire engine compartment.

While standing at the side of the vehicle in line with the firewall, pry along the edge of the hood between the hood and the fender. A Halligan works well for this. A small-tip power-rescue tool or even a Rabbit tool can get a bite and pry the side edge of the hood upward. You then take the wedge that you brought with you and shove it in to hold the hood open. Take your prying tool and that other wedge you have and go to the other side to repeat the same process. Now, in just a matter of a minute or so, one rescuer exposed both hood hinges. The partner, who was busy getting a cutting tool such as an air chisel, recip saw, hacksaw or power-rescue tool cutter ready, comes in and simply cuts the hood hinge in two on each side.

You and your partner use the front latch that is still closed as a "hinge" and lift the back edge of the hood at the base of the windshield up and forward, pivoting on that front latch. You can lay the thing completely over to the point where it is upside down in front of the car. At that point, you have complete access to the entire engine compartment.

You stood at the side of the vehicle, which is safer. You pried on top of the firewall area, which is considerably stronger than that flimsy plastic front grill and bumper you are used to prying off of. The best part is that when you are done, the whole engine compartment is exposed. Pry, wedge, cut. Two firefighters, two wedges, a pry tool and a cutting tool, and you'll have it done in two minutes!

TASK: The rescue team shall use tools carried on apparatus that typically responds to vehicle-related incidents to force entry into the engine compartment area of an acquired vehicle as if to accomplish electrical system shutdown; however, the hood must remain latched during the entire training evolution.

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.

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