Thread: Car hoods..

  1. #1
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    Default Car hoods..

    Hey all,

    Looking for some input on a good way to release the hood of a car that has been on fire. Any ideas??? I'm putting together a presentation for my volunteer dept and am looking for outside opinions. Thanks

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    Assuming you can't just reach in the cabin and pull the release, here are a couple we use often:

    - Take the forked end of a halligan and put the release cable (break off the front grill if you can't get to it easily) between the forks. Use the other end to rotate it and it should release.
    - Make a purchase point on one or both of the hood hinges. Then use spreaders/cutters to pop or cut the hinges. If you need to do both, it will fold forward quite easily.

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    This may be a little extreme but you can make a v cut with a k12 saw at the hood latch point. The hood will open leaving the latched part of the hood in place.

    More and more cars have lightweight composite hoods. They will open themselves during the fire.

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    Awesome.. I personally use the halligan method, usually works out well. And yes, this post was under the assumption that the car was on fire under the hood and burned through the hood release cable. Thanks for input guys..

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    Use your k12/partner/stihl saw and cut straight across the hood 6" to 8"'s from the hood seam. Overlap the edges some so you know its thru. Quicker than a "v" and you don't have to worry about jeeps and their hood latches at the corners.
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    We use the combi tool on the hood latch. Nozzle man takes the nozzle and knocks down the fire in the engine compartment from the wheel well. Hydrant man walks up pops the hood with the combi tool. One spread very easy to do. Cool the engine compartment and go home. Very quick and easy.

    We carry the combi tool preattached to the power supply.

    BTW I hate using the Irons to pop the hood. For that matter I hate car fires in general. Get all hot and dirty for nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    BTW I hate using the Irons to pop the hood. For that matter I hate car fires in general. Get all hot and dirty for nothing.
    But fun if you use your driver's helmet to take out the window, letting go when it busts... He'll be charging the line in no time! Good times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blulakr View Post
    This may be a little extreme but you can make a v cut with a k12 saw at the hood latch point. The hood will open leaving the latched part of the hood in place.
    This is what we do. Works great.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Metal cutting circular saw, cut all the way across hood. Not as bulky as the K-12

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    Newer cars have very thick hoods that don't allow even a 15" blade to sink deep enough to cut that bottom layer of the hood. You'll find yourself very frustrated at this if you try to make center V-cuts on many hoods. In order to reach, you end up having to cut kerfs wide enough to fit the whole saw guard to allow the saw to bite deeper without stopping at the guard.

    Another method is to just take the hinges with the saw. Make two angled cuts, one on each side, where the hinges are, and then flap the hood forward. This also helps avoid tricky vehicles with double latches and latches on the sides instead of in the middle, like Jeeps and Jags. It also avoids most of the problems with making deep cuts in the thickest part of the hood.

    You can bust out the grill sometimes and visualize the latch itself. If you can manipulate the latch, you're in good shape. They often stick, or you've already bent it all to hell trying to get at it some other way that didn't work. In this case, if you can make enough room to get some bolt cutters in there, you can just cut the hasp that the latch is attached to . It'll take at least two cuts, and I've had some that took three or four before I could get the jaws of the bolt cutters deep enough to complete the cut.

    You could just forgo opening the hood altogether.

    The pike of a halligan makes easy holes in a hood. Enough of them in one spot makes one big hole through which you can insert a nozzle. The blade of a flathead axe will easily shear sheet metal. The rear flat portion of the head will make those small cuts bigger, faster. Just stand on top of the hood and go to work. Bend up the corners of the hood enough to visualize and stick a nozzle through. And lastly, on some vehicles, you can easily move or remove the plastic wheel well covers, exposing the engine compartment.

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    Combi tool at hinge side of hood. Opens up plenty of space to get the water in and knock the fire down. Then you can play with whatever type of entry you want...the fire will be out.


    We had some guys doing the "V" cut on the latch last week. Oldsmobile Cutlass. The latch ended up being about 14" in from the front of the car...much further than anyone would have thought.
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    Find an old cellar piercing nozzle ram it through the hood and flow water. Takes 20 seconds. Instant sprinkler head under the hood.

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    As an engine officer, I never liked having my crew in such a dangerous position as hanging-out in front of the front bumper, often times, with their face right at the bumper level, trying to get a stupid hood latch opened. We have all seen the bumper videos of these things letting go during a car fire, yet we continue to have four crew members down on their knees, working for 10 minutes trying to get the hood opened. Pretty stupid in my book. I like the side access methods already mentioned. Keep your guys safe.

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    Cool Some Ideas...

    Access the line from the front, take a pair of pliers or this type of tool and roll the line away from the latch. It'll release...

    I've gotta custom wrench that works well also. It's designed for many different applications (through the lock entry, gas meters and such) that works really well because it's fairly tall and wide. I just grab the metal line and twist... If this doesn't work then you can also take a screwdriver and manually move the locking mechanism.

    Use an air chisel and cut-out the latch...

    I'll usually take a couple of mins. and try the latch like I suggested 1st, if it's being stubborn and I really need to access the area I'll go through the plastic wheel well. Many times it'll melt or become super soft so access is easy.
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    Pinch the fender with spreaders or combi tool. Then put you tool in the opening and dn't let off until you have good access to the fire. If it hasn't already opened by that time move the tool close to the front corner and it should open right up. All can be accomplished without being in front of the vehicle
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    Standing in front of the veichle allows you to get killed when the bumper shocks explode. Sending the bumper and you down the road. Work all car fires from side angle. If occupants are out there is nothing to save car is totalled.

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    The way cars are built these days...I'm more worried about the hood struts shooting off then bumpers.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Worry about struts and airbags everywhere. No life hazard or exposure problem sould be a foam deck gun operation. Just my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rescuedawg View Post
    Worry about struts and airbags everywhere. No life hazard or exposure problem sould be a foam deck gun operation. Just my opinion.
    Speaking only for OUR average car fires,bags are GONE on arrival. Struts are always an issue but generally Linear. Attack from a distance and as you knock it down advance SLOWLY. Watch for magnesium,nice fireworks. Anything outside of a MINOR fire in a car renders it TOTALLED so operate accordingly. Detroit needs the business,or Mexico. T.C.

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