Dash & Firewall Tie Downs

SUBJECT: Dash & Firewall Movement TOPIC: Dash & Firewall Tie Downs OBJECTIVE: Given a late-model vehicle, the rescue team member will be able to identify the location of the dash support tie-down straps and explain how they affect dash and firewall rescue...


SUBJECT: Dash & Firewall Movement TOPIC: Dash & Firewall Tie Downs OBJECTIVE: Given a late-model vehicle, the rescue team member will be able to identify the location of the dash support tie-down straps and explain how they affect dash and firewall rescue evolutions. TASK: The rescue...


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SUBJECT: Dash & Firewall Movement

TOPIC: Dash & Firewall Tie Downs

OBJECTIVE: Given a late-model vehicle, the rescue team member will be able to identify the location of the dash support tie-down straps and explain how they affect dash and firewall rescue evolutions.

TASK: The rescue team shall expose the dash tie-down straps on an acquired vehicle and sever both straps while remaining clear of both front-seat areas that would be occupied by simulated trapped occupants.

One of the more common entrapment situations that rescue teams encounter with head-on collisions is having the front-seat occupants pinned by the dash, firewall, floorboard, steering column and even the pedals. Just as familiar as this situation is, so is the solution. When the front crumple zone continues to crumple rearward onto the driver and front-seat passenger, rescue teams typically will work to roll the dash with a ram or jack the dash with a spreader. Either of these efforts is capable of freeing the trapped occupants relatively quickly and efficiently.

There are two new vehicle design features within the dash and firewall structure that are becoming more and more common. Rescue teams must be aware of these, as their presence will affect your results when moving the dash and firewall off trapped patients.

One dash feature is referred to as the dash support pipe. This item is essentially a pipe or tube running horizontally from A-pillar to A-pillar. It is positioned beneath the dashboard and maintains the integrity of the vehicle during a side impact. The steering column is secured to the dash support pipe as is the passenger's front airbag. This support pipe may or may not be one continuous tube. Many times, it consists of multiple sections bolted together

The second dash feature is referred to as the dash tie downs. These thin bands of steel are typically about the width of a seatbelt. A pair of tie downs are secured near the center of the dash support pipe and are bolted to the floorpan on both sides of the center floor "tunnel." These seemingly meager straps of steel are well hidden from view by the trim materials making up the center console of the dash.

Rolling the Dash

These tie-down straps are actually a formidable opponent during "dash rolling" or "jacking the dash" evolutions. Rescue teams should train on how to identify the presence of these tie downs and learn how to eliminate them from interfering with dash movement. Under normal circumstances, the tie downs are completely hidden behind the center- console trim panels.

When a rescue team wants to accomplish dash rolling or dash jacking at an incident on a late-model vehicle, one new step should be added to the work necessary to complete the assignment: the tie-down straps should be cut. Cutting both tie-down straps will dramatically improve the results of rolling or jacking. If the dash support pipe holds its own and the tie downs are severed, it is possible to get dash and firewall movement all the way across the vehicle. This could be especially important in situations where access is obstructed on the side where the trapped occupant is and the team can work only from the opposite side.

Identify the tie downs and cut them. It can be like supercharging the results of your dash and firewall movement evolutions.

TASK: The rescue team shall expose the dash tie-down straps on an acquired vehicle and sever both straps while remaining clear of both front-seat areas that would be occupied by simulated trapped occupants.

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.