Acquired Vehicle Safety Inspection

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SUBJECT: Acquired Vehicle Safety Inspection

TOPIC: Safety of acquired vehicles used for hands-on training

OBJECTIVE: Given a donated vehicle for hands-on skills training and a model safety inspection checklist, the lead instructor and safety officer shall be able to determine that the vehicle is safe for conducting hands-on fire suppression, EMS or extrication training.

TASK: The lead instructor and safety officer shall use a model safety inspection guide and determine that an acquired vehicle is safe and presents no unknown or unexpected hazards or risks to personnel prior to conducting hands-on skills training.

This University of Extrication article explains the components of a model Acquired Vehicle Safety Inspection form and the procedures needed to complete this process. The reason for an inspection form is so trainers and safety personnel can have a checklist that allows them to systematically look in, on, under, and around a junk car prior to it being used for any type of hands-on skills training. One thing we do not want is to be surprised by a hazard that suddenly appears during a class. Hazards can injure personnel in a training environment, which is such a preventable occurrence, and an unexpected event will mess up the flow of a good training program.

The model form presented here can serve as a starting point for both instructors and safety officers. As you review this, add additional checklist items that fit well into the practices and procedures you already use when preparing for training with acquired vehicles. The goal of creating an inspection policy for your department is to ensure that obvious hazards presented by the junk car have been removed or dealt with and that safety for your personnel is maintained as the highest priority of the training session.

Acquired Vehicle Safety Inspection Checklist

Make: ____________________ Model: ______________________ Color: __________

It shall be the policy of this department that prior to conducting any hands-on, practical skills fire suppression, EMS, or extrication training with an acquired vehicle, the Lead Instructor and Safety Officer personnel shall inspect all acquired vehicles and document the following items. Each item shall be checked as completed. This form shall be maintained as an official document by the Training Officer and/or Lead Instructor and kept along with all training records related to this training session.

  • Evidence of clear title for vehicle documented
  • Provided by: ______________________________ Date: ______
  • Permission to use vehicle for practical skills training documented
  • Granted by: ______________________________ Date: ______
  • Location & position of vehicles is appropriate and safe for practical skills training
  • Training grounds terrain: slope, incline, drop-offs, ditch, holes, etc.
  • Ground conditions: wet, mud, vegetation, nearby structures, etc.
  • Storage areas of the acquired vehicles inspected and any loose items found in, on and under the vehicle removed if these materials in any way present a safety concern for participants and instructional staff
  • Glove compartment
  • Center console
  • Instrument panel storage areas
  • Sunvisors
  • Ashtrays
  • Storage pockets on back of front seats
  • Storage pockets on side door panels
  • Trunk, hatchback area
  • Rear trunk wheelwell areas
  • Occupant area interior inspection for hazardous conditions (i.e.: insects, rodents, animals, trash, garbage)
  • Front floorboard
  • Front seats
  • Area beneath front seats
  • Rear seats
  • Rear window speaker deck
  • Underside of vehicle inspected and safe for practical skills training
  • Vehicle fuel tank (gasoline, diesel) safe for practical skills training
  • Fluids drained/removed
  • Motor oil
  • Antifreeze fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Closed containers of any materials removed
  • Electrical system shutdown
  • Battery removed, or
  • Battery intact and planned as a practical assignment during the training program
  • Airbags
  • All airbags deployed: frontal, seat-mounted, door-mounted, roof-mounted, knee bags, or
  • Loaded air bags scheduled for manual deployment planned as a demonstration during the training program
  • Pressurized cylinders inspected and/or removed
  • Hood hinge struts
  • Bumper energy-absorbing pistons
  • Trunk hinge struts
  • Tailgate/liftgate struts
  • Vehicle is acceptable for use during the training program
  • _________ Yes _________ No
  • Inspection completed by: ________________________________ Date: ____________
  • Safety Officer acknowledgement: __________________________ Date: ____________

TASK: Using this model policy as a guide, the Lead Instructor and Safety Officer shall develop a departmental Acquired Vehicle Inspection Checklist form and incorporate this procedure into preparation for fire suppression, EMS, or extrication training with acquired vehicles.

An electronic copy of this Acquired Vehicle Safety Inspection checklist will be provided to anyone interested in obtaining it. Simply e-mail Ron Moore at Rmoore@firehouse.com and request the Acquired Vehicle Safety Inspection checklist. It will be provided to you as a Micrsoft Word document.


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.

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