Steerng Column: Part 3 - Side-Resting Vehicle Column Evolutions

Subject: Steering Column Topic: Steering Column: Part 3 – Side-resting Vehicle Column Evolutions Objective: Given the scenario of a driver trapped in a side-resting vehicle, driver’s-side down, the rescue team will...


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To make the effort of any pulling tool most effective, a sliding box crib is used. A sliding box crib consists of two pieces of wood placed parallel to each other running from the firewall towards the front of the vehicle. A third piece of cribbing, the “sliderâ€, is placed across the top of the two parallel cribbing pieces.

With the pulling tool positioned across the hood area of the side-resting vehicle, the front anchor chain is attached to the front of the pulling tool. The chain that wraps the column is placed over the top of the slider crib and then connected to the pulling tool.

As the tool operates, the chain tightens and the pull moves the sliding box crib towards the front of the vehicle. As the slider crib moves, it focuses the pulling effort of the tool directly into a lifting action of the steering column.

If using a power spreader, each pull is limited to the distance that the arms are opened at the start of the pull. If a power ram is used, each pull is limited to the distance the ram will retract. Make sure the ram is placed in a straight line. An extended ram is vulnerable to side stresses if it were bent over the front end of the damaged vehicle for example. If a come-along tool is used, the distance between the tool and the working hook is the travel distance limiting factor for each pull.

Let’s get back to basics. Unlike what you normally do to free a trapped driver, you have to admit, this side-resting scenario should serve as a reality check! Can your team rescue this patient as easily as if the vehicle were resting on its wheels on a level surface? Your training now will make all the difference when this scenario becomes your rescue reality.

TASK: The rescue team shall place a vehicle in a side-resting position, driver’s-side down and complete the column movement evolution using a minimum of two different tools or techniques; Plan A and Plan B. Each evolution shall be accomplished in an elapsed time not to exceed five minutes from start to finish.


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.