Pickup Truck Autopsy - Part 2

The purpose of this two-part article is to provide you, your rescue personnel and your department Training Officer with an increased awareness of the unique rescue challenges presented by pickup truck vehicles.


TASK P: Wheel & column - cut steering wheel ring
Assign a crew to cut and bend away a portion or all of the steering wheel ring. Regardless of the cutting tool used, do not allow a rescuer or any cutting tool to get in the airbag's 'inflation zone' at any time during this evolution. Remember, a loaded driver's side front airbag at an actual crash scene can deploy out a depth of 10 inches from the steering wheel. Keep this inflation zone clear at all times! Remember our newest airbag safety guideline, the "10-18 & 5" rule.

TASK Q: Passenger side dash "roll"
Assign a crew to 'roll' the dash up and away from a simulated front seat passenger. Remember the challenge of working at a crash scene with a new pickup truck that has a third or fourth door. When considering 'rolling' the dash of this extended cab pickup truck, the diagonal distance from the bottom of the C-post to the dashboard near the top door hinge exceeds the maximum extended length of all current model hydraulic rams on the market ( unless ram extension pieces are added). Plan ahead. Be creative but safe.

TASK R: Driver's side "jack" the dash
This is generally the better way to move the dashboard, firewall, steering wheel and column, and brake pedal away from a trapped front seat occupant. Make strategic cuts in the A-post between the door hinges. Remove a 'notch' of the A-post. Place a lifting or spreading tool in this opening and raise the structure vertically.

Upon completion of this assignment, the front seat patients would typically be able to be extricated.

In vehicle rescue training sessions, I hate to leave metal around that hasn't been worked with. Let's continue now with some extra stuff.

TASK S: Move or remove the brake pedal
Utilize your rescue equipment to move and then remove the brake pedal.

TASK T: Move the driver's side of the front seat rearward.
This will be a challenge because you pretty well crushed and crumpled that front A-post. See if you can figure this assignment out. It simulates a realistic crash scene challenge.

TASK U: Remove back of front seat
Here's a task designed to make the crews familiar with the structure of the pickup truck's seat framework. Assign a crew to remove just the upright portion, the seat back, of each front seat.

TASK V: Remove the entire front seat assembly
Now, simulate that a person is trapped in the back seat . This patient still has a portion of their leg or foot crushed under the front seat. Totally remove the entire front seat assembly, a bench seat or have the crews remove both bucket seats.

TASK W: Remove the rear wall of the cab and the front wall of the pickup truck bed
Simulating an extreme situation where access to the cab must be gained through the rear wall of the truck, crews will first move or remove the front metal wall and framework of the pickup truck bed. Next, they will move or remove the rear wall of the truck cab along with the upright portion of the crew cab rear seat if it is present. This is a challenging exercise that trains the crew to work under some unique pickup truck rescue situations.

At this point, your crews have pretty well peeled the 'skin' off the pickup truck 'banana'. There should not be much truck left and that's a rewarding sight. Listed below however are several other evolutions that could be done with another pickup truck the next time one can be acquired for training purposes.

Optional Tasks for Additional Training

  • TASK A1: force hood at hinges
  • TASK A2: total hood removal
  • TASK A3: total roof removal with windshield glass attached at top roofline
  • TASK A4: stabilize vehicle on edge, driver's side down
  • TASK A5: move steering column separate of dash evolution
  • TASK A6: total removal of steering column at dashboard
  • TASK A7: make opening in undercarriage floor pan of truck while it is stabilized on edge
  • TASK A8: jacking & shoring evolution to lift vehicle

Overall Training TASK: Using this University of Extrication information, inspect 1998 model year pickup truck vehicles to identify location and operation of various new technology features and determine changes necessary in your department's current vehicle rescue standard operating guidelines.