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In all cases when shutting down a vehicle’s electrical system, the negative cables should be either disconnected or “double cut” first. Then to complete the task, all positive or “hot” cables should be disconnected or “double cut.” Be alert to the very real possibility of multiple battery cables attached to each battery terminal or post. A vehicle today can easily have six separate cables: three ground and three positives. Get them all. If it is your agency’s policy to cut battery cables, each cable should be cut twice to remove a chunk of it. With a double cut, the fresh-cut ends cannot contact each other and re-establish a circuit.
TASK: Review the images provided of real-world rollover crashes. Understand the difficulty that can be anticipated when it is necessary to access the battery and shut down the vehicle’s electrical system.
Using an acquired vehicle, roll it onto its roof on a level surface. Complete roof-resting stabilization and hazard-control measures. The vehicle’s battery, located within the engine compartment, must then be accessed and both negative and positive cables must be disconnected or “double cut” while the vehicle is resting on its roof. Complete all three access evolutions: side wheel-well, frontal headlight and undercarriage access.
Ron Moore will present “University of Extrication” at Firehouse Expo 2005, July 26-31 in Baltimore.
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.