Like Tree1Likes

Thread: Car Batteries - Cutting vs. Disconnecting vs. Nothing

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    bcjack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    106

    Default Car Batteries - Cutting vs. Disconnecting vs. Nothing

    I am in a sort of "Debate" with some local law enforcement people about the real need to disconnect car batteries on crashed cars. Some of them have real heartburn with disconnecting power at all, and others have heartburn with cutting the cables. Their argument is "How many cars have burnt up after a crash", "how many times has an airbag popped after the crash", and so on and so forth.

    Any help would be appreciated!!!
    everyonegoeshome.com

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,689

    Default

    Honest question for them......why not?

    Have cars started on fire after an accident? Yes.

    Have airbags popped after an accident? Yes. Do a google search on Dayton OH and the first recorded airbag inflation. They didn't disconnect the battery. Watch the 2 guys that hit with the bag.

    As to whether to cut or disconnect....depends. We try to disconnect first but if causing a delay....we cut.
    "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?

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Lusby, MD
    Posts
    1,035

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    I am in a sort of "Debate" with some local law enforcement people about the real need to disconnect car batteries on crashed cars. Some of them have real heartburn with disconnecting power at all, and others have heartburn with cutting the cables. Their argument is "How many cars have burnt up after a crash", "how many times has an airbag popped after the crash", and so on and so forth.

    Any help would be appreciated!!!
    Well, let them volunteer to sit behind an airbag that hasn't deployed while you leave the battery connected. I don't know of any standard or SOP that says not to disconnect the battery after an accident, especially when we will be cutting. I know of at least 1 instance in our county where the leaking fuel caught fire. Granted it was not from a discharge from the battery, but why take any chances. Show them the video of the Dayton airbag incident to get their attention.

    My question is, what is there issue with disconnecing the power? The only reason I can think of is that it may take longer to remove the vehicle. That would be insignificant if you are loading on a rollback, but may make a difference if the vehicle is drivable.

    As far as cutting vs disconnecing. I prefer to disconnect, making sure the terminal is well away from the battery terminal, to cutting. That way, if you do need to re-connect them for some reason, you can. If I can't get access due to damage, I also have no problems cutting the cables. If the car is drivable, I will also try to avoid cutting cables.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    GTRider245's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Augusta,GA
    Posts
    3,060

    Default

    If patient care is still a priority and D/Cing the cables would cause delay, they get cut. Also if the car is totaled, don't waste time with tools. Just cut them.
    Career Firefighter
    Volunteer Captain

    -Professional in Either Role-

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,172

    Default

    I'd tell them to put down the doughnut and go direct traffic. If they had scored higher on the test they could've become a Firefighter. It's none of their damn business how we do our job. We make it safe for ourselves and the patient, in whatever fashion necessary. Wether we cut or disconnect a battery or shut down an entire interstate highway, their job is to provide traffic control and investigate the crash when we're done. When we're done, we'll give control of the scene to them. Until then, the scene is ours and we'll do what we need to do, how we need to do it.

  6. #6
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    As to whether to cut or disconnect....depends. We try to disconnect first but if causing a delay....we cut.
    Yea, we have a small bag with a few wrenches, a cutter, screwdriver and flashlight. "Crash kit" goes to the hood and one of the FF's will do what he can.
    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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    EastKyFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    3,092

    Default

    Because what's REALLY important is not disconnecting the battery on a vehicle like this.

    Attachment 22014

    "See if it'll crank, Clem!"
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
    --General James Mattis, USMC


  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Can't really add anything else that hasn't been said. It isn't their problem to worry about it. I'm just glad to see Law Enforcement in other areas have become the "all knowing" public safety gurus! It is something new they are putting in the kool-aid they make them drink at the academy. The last year or so it seems like we have had more issues that the previous 23 combined. I'm not sure what is going on.

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    77

    Default

    Hey

    Disconnecting the battery always has been a debate, heres my thoughts.

    Firstly if its accessible we should ideally disconnect it, if its in-accessible we work around this with control measures such as safety distances for airbag deployment paths etc.

    Some things to note, we need to use vehicle systems prior to disconnecting, if we disconnect it we can always re attach it should we need to use some of the vehicle systems, electric seats and such later on, if we cut it this will not be possible.

    Vehicles can be fitted with vibrating seats, are these still working would we know, if the battery is disconnected this will isolate the seat, a vibrating seat will prevent internal blood clotting.

    If the car is fitted with and easy get in and out feature, that will need isolating via the battery, we don't want that activating inadvertently.

    As a rule of thumb, disconnect the battery when accessible prior to any cutting spreading or ramming. Utilise power systems first. Cutting the wire is an option, but we should be looking at carrying out tasks in a more controlled manner, that also leaves options open during the rescue.

    We have these issues at times, it comes down to lack of interagency training and awareness of each others needs, in the end its a casualty centred rescue, with procedures put in place to protect rescuers and casualties on scene from further harm.

    Cheers

    Jon

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mass
    Posts
    1,037

    Default

    For us, depends on the severity of the accident and injuries.

    If the damage to the vehicle is minimal and clearly fixable and their are no complex extrication challenges and/or signs of fire, we simply disconnect the battery. With a pair of pliers and minimal mechanical skill 99% of batteries can be disconnected in well under 60 seconds. That is typically far less time before the Jaws are even setup and ready to start working. So you are not wasting any time in disconnecting vs. cutting.

    If we pull up and the car is obviously totalled then we just cut them. You are not costing the owner or Insurance company any more money in doing so.

    It's the same principle with Forcible Entry. Too many people would rather be overly destructive then just using common sense. Not every "Emergency" is a race against time where every second counts and common sense and finesse are forgotten. I have been on calls where we were second due on an automatic alarm and the company on scene was firing up a Rotary saw to force entry on a commercial aluminum storefront door that i was able to open in less then 60 seconds with a pair of Channel locks and a Kerry Key and causing NO damage to the door itself.

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    FiremanLyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    948

    Default

    Took a vehicle tech class this week, met Chief Moore, learned a bunch... Other than airbags and such, my new number one reason for d/c a battery is HID headlights. 250,000 volts, 6 amps. Basicly an arch welder on the front of a car. No thank you.
    Trkco1 likes this.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mass
    Posts
    1,037

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Took a vehicle tech class this week, met Chief Moore, learned a bunch... Other than airbags and such, my new number one reason for d/c a battery is HID headlights. 250,000 volts, 6 amps. Basicly an arch welder on the front of a car. No thank you.
    Yes, but they are a non issue if the car you are working on was in a side impact or rear end collision. The high voltage ballasts for them are mounted within 6-10" of the headlights themselves and are only on when the headlights are on. Just something to consider.

  13. #13
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jonnycutter View Post
    Vehicles can be fitted with vibrating seats, are these still working would we know, if the battery is disconnected this will isolate the seat, a vibrating seat will prevent internal blood clotting.
    Wait, what?

    Vibrating seat will prevent internal blood clotting.... what does that even mean?
    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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    FiremanLyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    948

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    Yes, but they are a non issue if the car you are working on was in a side impact or rear end collision. The high voltage ballasts for them are mounted within 6-10" of the headlights themselves and are only on when the headlights are on. Just something to consider.
    Fine for you, but I trust NOTHING to work the way it is intended once involved in an accident. "Trauma" to electrical systems produce funny results. I am still going to cut the battery cable.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,172

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Wait, what?

    Vibrating seat will prevent internal blood clotting.... what does that even mean?
    It means a small internal bleed will not clot and seal itself off. The patient will continue to bleed longer, blood will end up where it's not supposed to be. That's bad for the patient.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    Just don't hold the lamp wires,you'll be fine.

  17. #17
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    It means a small internal bleed will not clot and seal itself off. The patient will continue to bleed longer, blood will end up where it's not supposed to be. That's bad for the patient.
    I'm not convinced that the minimal vibrations will impede clotting. Was this based on some study?
    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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    77

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I'm not convinced that the minimal vibrations will impede clotting. Was this based on some study?
    johnsb

    Thanks for explaining that one I should have put it better.

    ChiefKN

    vibrating seats are designed to keep the blood circulating when you are sat for a long journey/drive. Yes it can have an adverse effect on internal bleeds, the slightest movement can disrupt an internal blood clot, the second clot that forms is only 40 percent as good as the first clot. So yes if a vibrating seat is active it can cause problems for the casualty.

    Jon

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber
    BULL321's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Western, NC
    Posts
    3,432

    Default

    What's up with all the hating on the Boys in Blue? I can't think of one time in the past 13 years where a LEO even tired to tell us how to cut on a car. The troopers might get a little antsy when we shut down the highway for a long period of time, but they always get over it. Maybe we are just lucky in our area.
    Stay Safe
    Bull


    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
    - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
    -WINSTON CHURCHILL

  20. #20
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jonnycutter View Post
    vibrating seats are designed to keep the blood circulating when you are sat for a long journey/drive. Yes it can have an adverse effect on internal bleeds, the slightest movement can disrupt an internal blood clot, the second clot that forms is only 40 percent as good as the first clot. So yes if a vibrating seat is active it can cause problems for the casualty.

    Jon
    Hmm... I remain unconvinced that this is a serious concern.

    Preventing blood clots in the legs during travel and inhibiting clots from sort of internal bleed post trauma are not comparable. I'm not sure what kind of small bleed you are referencing from a trauma, large bleeds probably won't matter (think an aortic deceleration tear).

    Considering the hypercoag state of the post trauma patient, preventing those small clots just might be a good thing.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 05-20-2012 at 08:08 PM.
    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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  21. #21
    Truckie
    SPFDRum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 1999
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    2,516

    Default

    Reasons: electric fuel pumps, electric power steering pumps, electric fans. All can be hazardous, especially any flammable liquid discharged under pressure. Doesn't take much to short a relay to cause any of them to start unexpectedly.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
    Elevator Rescue Information

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,172

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    What's up with all the hating on the Boys in Blue? I can't think of one time in the past 13 years where a LEO even tired to tell us how to cut on a car. The troopers might get a little antsy when we shut down the highway for a long period of time, but they always get over it. Maybe we are just lucky in our area.
    Most of them are OK, but there's alway THAT guy.

  23. #23
    Forum Member
    Rescue101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bridgton,Me USA
    Posts
    8,162

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Most of them are OK, but there's alway THAT guy.
    Some days you're the dog other days you're the hydrant.

  24. #24
    Forum Member
    Miller337's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    932

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    What's up with all the hating on the Boys in Blue? I can't think of one time in the past 13 years where a LEO even tired to tell us how to cut on a car. The troopers might get a little antsy when we shut down the highway for a long period of time, but they always get over it. Maybe we are just lucky in our area.
    Did you mean? a LEO ever to tired to tell us how to cut on a car. You know how those boys are, low self asteem issues since they couldn't hack the fire-rescue gig. It isn't the shutting the highway down that sets them off. What it really is going on is yet again they had to call the fire dept. to fix their problem. Fragile egos, be kind, patient and speak softly.
    Last edited by Miller337; 05-26-2012 at 08:13 PM.

  25. #25
    MembersZone Subscriber
    BULL321's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Western, NC
    Posts
    3,432

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Miller337 View Post
    Did you mean? a LEO ever to tired to tell us how to cut on a car. You know how those boys are, low self asteem issues since they couldn't hack the fire-rescue gig. It isn't the shutting the highway down that sets them off. What it really is going on is yet again they had to call the fire dept. to fix their problem. Fragile egos, be kind, patient and speak softly.

    But they are no where near as bad as those, Ricky red light, "we fight what you fear t-shirt wearing" one call every once in a while types!
    Stay Safe
    Bull


    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
    - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
    -WINSTON CHURCHILL

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Batteries
    By rschultzjr in forum Apparatus Innovation
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-11-2008, 09:08 PM
  2. BTB (Back To Basics)- Disconnecting a Car Battery
    By CALFFBOU in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: 10-10-2006, 06:02 PM
  3. Cutting vs. Disconnecting Batteries
    By Resq14 in forum University of Extrication
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 05-10-2003, 07:21 PM
  4. 9v Batteries
    By Bootsatcfd in forum Fire Prevention and Life Safety
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-09-2002, 07:13 AM
  5. batteries
    By Fir, M GAUTHIER in forum University of Extrication
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-21-2000, 05:39 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register