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'Crash Course' Quick Drill Series - Part I

Pickup trucks are a very popular style of vehicle. Along with their increased presence on the highways is the increased possibility that fire departments will encounter them.Pickup trucks are a very popular style of vehicle in the U.S. Along with their increased presence on the highways is the increased possibility that fire departments will encounter pickup trucks at a crash scene.

For your Crash Course drill this week, review the design and operation of the pickup truck third-door design. Look at a member's vehicle or visit a new car dealership to view this feature on an actual vehicle.

Designed to increase access to the rear seat of the pickup, third doors have several rescue challenges inherent with their design.

For one thing, their rear hinges are completely hidden from view when the third door is closed. In addition, their latches are on the roofline and along the rocker channel. Also, the actual latch that grabs and holds the front door shut is attached to the front edge of the third door.

In a jammed door situation, after initial tasks such as vehicle stabilization, electrical system shutdown and patient access, rescuers must consider opening the front door first. With that door open, there is increased access to the third door.

To open the jammed third (or fourth) door, remove the glass and then attack the latch along the rocker first by spreading or cutting. Then attack the upper latch along the roof rail. If the upper latch is being difficult, consider cutting through the forward-most window frame and leaving a stub with the two parts of the latch still attached to each other. The third door will still bend open enough to access the interior rear seat occupants.

Third doors will have to be opened or at least cut free of the roof before rescue teams can accomplish a total roof removal.

Crash Course Teaching Point: "Front Door First then Third Door Rocker and Roof"

Be Informed

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