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With the arrival of the new utility van from Ford Motor Co., responders have an increased probability of encountering a lockable hood latch mechanism at a vehicle fire or collision scene.
The front-wheel-drive Transit Connect vans are built in Turkey and Romania and imported into the U.S. by Ford. The vans have been available in the U.S. since mid-2009. The van is available as a cargo van or as a five-passenger vehicle. Frontal airbags are provided for the front occupants as are side-impact roof-mounted airbags for the driver and front passenger. It is anticipated that the Transit Connect van will also be available as an electric plug-in vehicle in the near future.
On all four versions of the van, the front-mounted hood latch mechanism can be released only from the outside of the vehicle – which is a bit unusual. There is no inside hood release mechanism on the instrument panel as normally encountered. What is also unusual is that once the hood is latched, it locks automatically. The hood can only be released under normal conditions by using the door/ignition key and inserting it into the locking hood latch key cylinder while standing at the front of the van.
The blue oval Ford emblem, mounted on the front grill, conceals the hood release lock cylinder. To release the hood requires four actions. First, the blue Ford oval must be rotated 180 degrees counterclockwise. This exposes the key cylinder. Next, the vehicle’s ignition key must be inserted into the slot. To unlock and unlatch the hood, the key is first turned to the left to release the primary latch and then turned back to the right to release the secondary latch. This twisting sequence releases the latch completely and allows the hood to pop open.
TASK: Given a Ford Transit Connect utility van to inspect, the rescue team shall familiarize themselves with the design of the lockable hood latch mechanism and be able to operate it under simulated collision scene conditions. n