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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber rmoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Plano, Texas

    Default Windshield Removal is Still 'Best Practice'

    Question from a Captain who wants to make sure that nothing major has changed in windshield or side window removal procedures. His question...

    "I have taken your class in San Diego before. I need some info on the recommended way to remove windows in cars. Are we teaching the 3M adhesive technique before breaking the windows.

    Also are we still suppose to be using the Glass Master for windshields which produces alot of glass fibers, or should we just chop with the axe. I am a truck captain and trying to update my dept with auto extraction. Any info would be appreciated."

    My reply...

    Best Practice seems to be total removal of the windshield without any materials applied to the glass first.

    Cover patient and inside medic.

    Get removal tool: Axe, Glas-Master, Recip saw with wood cutting blade, or even the new Evolution saw (7&1/4 inch circular saw specially designed for extrication)

    Announce "Breaking Glass"

    Have rescuer either don N95-type face mask or just keep his mouth shut while working

    Remove windshield by cutting along edges and removing from vehicle

    Place in debris pile or better yet, underneath the vehicle where it is out of the way.

    Cover your 'sharps' where there is any remaining jagged glass.

    For Tempered Glass, I believe that covering the patient and the inside medic and simply breaking the tempered glass with a spring punch is the best practice there.

    I do not personally take time to apply adhesive paper or sprays to the glass. My glass breaking tool of choice is a new thing called a 'spring punch; NOT the same as a spring-loaded center punch. simpler and much, much more reliable. Costs about $6 - $8.

    Clean out the nuggets from the window opening and again, go to the next task.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  2. #2
    Forum Member FiftyOnePride's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Upstate NY


    Thanks for that - sometimes there is a dense cloud of fog over even the most simple tasks.

    I have never taken the time to apply adhesive to the windows - but that is just me. I think people have found success in doing so, and that is good for them. I suppose everyone has their own methods, but I agree with your assessment.

    Thanks for posting this Ron.
    51 Pride - R.I.P. Sandy
    Alarm 200644004, I won't ever forget.

    Remember you only have 1*.


  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    If i plan to take out the roof, i only do a smile in the windshield and i cut the A post at the same height of the end of my smile, so i do less glass fiber, i save time.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Morris County, NJ


    I have heard of a trick involving spraying a line of cheap foamy shaving cream along the glass where you plan on cutting with the Glassmaster. Supposedly it will trap a large portion of the dust and shards coming off of the blade. I have yet to try it in a training evolution but I will one of these days.

  5. #5
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    The Home of Smucker's Jelly


    I have tried the shaving cream idea and it does work as long as you have time to apply it and the person doing the sawing can keep within the foam. The problems I have seen with this is that the foam is sprayed too low on the windshield causing the saw to strike the dashboard when making the cut. The other problem with this is that if you do not cut windshields a lot, your can of shaving cream will likely rust our before you use it up.

    I am starting to lean toward the idea of using the reciprocating saw to make a cut starting from the "A" post, across the windshield, and through the other "A" post. If you have a cutter operating on the un-cut "A" post side, it can make that cut to speed things along.

    As for sticking tape to glass before you cut it to keep it more neat... the problem with that is that most tape doesn't not stick well in a wet environment... which you tend to end up with at crash scenes...
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Hampton, Virginia


    Another option is to use a windshield removal tool. You insert the knife edge under the windshield seal and pull. As you pull, it cuts the seal holding the windshield against the car. Once the seal is completely cut, push out the entire windshield and place away from the accident. Of course, the ability to use this knife depends on the windshield (i.e. intact or damaged), and the seal itself. Some car manufacturers glue the windshield directly to the frame rather than sandwich it between the frame and seal.
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  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Caldwell, NJ


    Quote Originally Posted by MetalMedic View Post

    I am starting to lean toward the idea of using the reciprocating saw to make a cut starting from the "A" post, across the windshield, and through the other "A" post.
    The problem with this approach is by cutting the windshield with a fine tooth saw blade, you get quite a bit of airborne glass particles. If I'm cutting the windshield with a recip saw, I'll only use a short wood cutting blade. My current tool of choice for cutting windshields is a glass-master saw. With a little practice, you can remove a windshield as fast as with a recip saw.

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Brunswick, MD

    Default Battery Pack Circular Saw

    The fastest way I have found to cut a windshield is with a battery pack circular saw.
    4 1/2" blade - 5 seconds your done. No glass fragments just dust. Patient and care giver are covered. N95 mask for the person cutting.


  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Union Grove, WI


    Remove windshield by cutting along edges and removing from vehicle

    Place in debris pile or better yet, underneath the vehicle where it is out of the way.

    Question? What method are you using during the extrication? Some departments use the roof flap and some remove the roof. I am just curious on what method you were implying and if you were suggesting to remove the whole windshield?

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