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Pickup Truck Training Opportunities

Rescue personnel will understand the procedures necessary to preplan and prepare for pickup truck rescue training.

SUBJECT: Pickup Truck Rescue
TOPIC: Pickup Truck Training Opportunities
OBJECTIVE: Rescue personnel will understand the procedures necessary to preplan and prepare for pickup truck rescue training.
TASK: Given an acquired pickup truck vehicle, responders will prepare the vehicle for safe and efficient extrication training.

"Training" at the Dealership

It is highly recommended that the department Training Officer or Rescue Squad leader visit various new car and truck dealerships to obtain a first-hand look at the new pickup truck models. If possible, obtain permission to open hoods and doors to photograph the trucks sitting on the dealer's lot. This allows you to document features such as airbag cutoff switches, the new side door features, body on frame construction, and other relevant items.

While at the dealership, obtain sales literature for use in conducting a pickup truck rescue training session at your station. Excellent full-color brochures from the manufacturers provide great amounts of training information prior to your hands-on skills training session. These also serve as a starting point for discussion of rescue practices and procedures among department members.

Vehicle Preparation for Skills Training

After acquiring a pickup truck for practical skills training, the truck should be inspected and have all potential hazards rendered safe for training. All fluids should be removed from the vehicle including the engine fuel and oil, antifreeze, and transmission fluids. The battery or batteries should be completely removed from the vehicle in advance of the class.

Glove compartments and other storage areas should be inspected and any loose materials removed from the truck. The vehicle should then be positioned in the appropriate training area on a flat surface. The extrication equipment can then be off-loaded from the rescue apparatus and staged on a tarp in one central area in line with the front of the truck. This is the Tool Staging area.

Preparing Personnel for Hands-on Training

A recommended maximum number of 20 participants should participate in this hands-on training session. Personnel should be divided into working crews of four or five members with leaders and Safety Officers assigned. Each crew will take turns working to complete assigned tasks.

Full turnout gear personal protective clothing should be required for all participants, Safety Officer, and instructors. Required OSHA-compliant eye protection should include approved safety glasses or the new OSHA compliant safety goggles. Flip-down helmet face shields are not acceptable eye protection for vehicle rescue activities.

Your department's fireground accountability system should be implemented along with your ICS plan for this training session. Assignments are delegated from a Command Post with crew leaders accomplishing these tasks then reporting back to Command. Crews waiting for assignment standby in a Staging area.

A designated Rehab area with restroom facilities, refreshments, and a medical crew on standby should be established.

Don't Work with 'Loaded' Airbags

If the acquired pickup truck has front or side impact airbags, these bags should be deployed at the start of the training session. Acquired vehicles should not be worked on when their airbags are 'loaded'. This is one safety concern for those participating in the exercise that must be controlled prior to starting the practical work.

Deploying airbags is relatively simple and an excellent demonstration for responders to witness first hand. Utilize the assistance of a trained service technician from a local dealership to prepare the airbag system. Using pliers, lengths of speaker wire and a 9-volt transistor radio battery, this knowledgeable person can rig the bags to deploy on demand. Once deployed, the interior of the vehicle should be adequately vented.

Pickup Truck 'Points to Ponder':

  • Third doors are on the passenger side of extended cabs for some makes and models and on the driver's side on other brands.

  • The 1997 Dodge Ram 'Quad Cab' introduced the fourth door feature with a limousine-style rear hinged side door on each side of the truck. 1998 Ford pickups now are available with a fourth door feature.

  • It is difficult to determine if a pickup has a third door or fourth door because the seams are so well aligned that you can hardly see the 'door' even when you know it's there.

  • All third and fourth doors latch to the front door requiring the front door to be opened first, then the third or fourth door can be opened.

  • All pickup truck third and fourth doors have two Nader safety lock/latch mechanisms and secure at both the lower rocker panel area and at the roofline of the truck.

  • Third and fourth doors generally do not have outside door handles. It is hidden in the edge of the door. Only the Toyota T150 pickup third door has an outside handle.

  • Because all third and fourth door hinges are concealed, it is not realistic to force open these doors at their hinges while the door remains closed and latched at top and bottom.

  • Full size pickup trucks are available with four forward opening hinged doors, two each side, similar to the design and function of doors on a four door automobile.

  • Passenger side airbag cutoff switches deactivate the electrical feed to the airbag during a crash event. The ignition key operates the switch. With the switch in the 'off' position, the passenger's side airbag will remain 'loaded' after a crash which triggers the driver's side bag.

  • Total roof removal at dashboard level can be accomplished even with the third or fourth door closed and latched, allowing for rapid vertical extrication of occupants.

  • Opening the third (or fourth) door along with a front door dramatically 'opens up' that side of the pickup allowing for longboard extrication horizontally out the side.

  • Remember, when the front door and the third or fourth door are opened, there is NO B-post.

  • When considering 'rolling' the dash of an extended cab pickup truck with a third or fourth door, the diagonal distance from the bottom of C-post to the dashboard at the top door hinge exceeds the maximum extended length of all current model hydraulic rams on the market. (unless ram extension pieces are added)

Task: Given an acquired pickup truck vehicle, responders will prepare the vehicle for safe and efficient extrication training.