I reviewed a marketing piece from Hi-Lift Jack that features their 1st Responder Jack. In that brochure, there is an image of the jack being used to lift a steering column. The jack is positioned on the hood and firewall area, with a chain anchored from the front, over the jack toe, and then around the steering column. The goal is that the jack is operated which lifts the length of chain. This is an 'old school' technique that is still effective and quick.
A rescue instructor from the northeast however, asked if having a rescuer stand on a hood while operating the jack is 'acceptable'. What is your opinion? Do you or would you allow the rescuer to be on the hood of the crash-damaged vehicle while operating the jack?
I believe that if the vehicle is stabilized and on a fairly level surface, as shown in the picture, then it is acceptable. If the vehicle were leaning to one side, if weather is creating a slipping issue, or if the vehicle is not stabilized, then I would not support having a rescuer on the hood or firewall area while using the jack.
For this specific column lifting application, my experience with the jack has shown that it does work most efficiently when the operator is up at the jack. I would encourage the rescuer however to keep the jack toe low on the shaft. The image shows the jack toe and the chain relatively high on the shaft. The higher you go, the less stable the jack is and the more likely it is to topple over. I advise my students to keep the toe low and stop and reset if the lift is getting higher on the jack shaft.
If the hood is in the way, I have the team remove the hood first and then work the jack. When I use the jack in my hands-on training sessions, I show that the dash lift can be done with the rescuer on the hood but I also show that it can be done with the rescuer standing on the ground as they operate the jack. You just have less mechanical advantage and have to be a tall person to do it efficiently. Showing both ways in my training program allows the team to have options at their Real World rescue scene. Having a choice also takes into account situations where the front crumple damage makes standing on the hood difficult.
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05-29-2013, 12:41 PM #1
Do you allow standing on the vehicle?
05-30-2013, 11:24 AM #2
We allow any maneuvering that can be done safely. You pointed out weather creating a slipping issue. In every single case that I've put fire boots on a hood or roof of a vehicle, I've found that slipping is an issue without weather. Either I've stepped in water or fluids at the scene, or not cleaned them off my boots from a previous scene (diesel spills are common), but something reduces my traction on painted sheet metal. As such, I stay as low as possible, and I'm usually on my knees once I get to the hood or roof.
05-30-2013, 11:28 AM #3
For starters, the steering columns I have pulled were done utilizing the spreaders. This technique looks very unstable, but it apparently works.
The second point I'd like to ask about is U-joints in the steering column. For some years now, I have heard that many front-wheel drive cars have convoluted steering linkages that include a U-joint at or near the firewall, and that the good ol' fashioned steering column pull can break these joints, causing the column to swing toward the driver. Accurate, or not?"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.Ē
--General James Mattis, USMC
06-11-2013, 03:08 PM #4
I'm no medic but it looks like your patient might be sig 7I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman.
06-11-2013, 10:22 PM #5
Ron, this is almost a non-issue. We, firefighters and rescue professionals, are masters of risk management. Hell, that is what our job is about... risk vs. benefit. If there is a severe danger identified, by say standing on a hood, we must assess that risk, determine if the benefit outweighs that risk, or find another way to conduct that operation.
I for one laughed at the question. If a rescuer, in proper PPE, following safety techniques, needs to position himself on a stabilized vehicle to effect the rescue in the best possible manner, do it! We've had to climb into and up on cars resting on their side, we do it once we mitigate the risk... stabilization, de-energizing equipment, appropriate PPE (a rescue helmet in lieu of a wide brimmed fire helmet for example when burrowing into a car). We've done it in bad weather, good weather, day or night. You just identify the risk and handle it in the way that is best for the patient and keeps you safe.
Not knocking the instructor in question, but is he a real world firefighter or operates only in the training rhelm? I ask because we have been around some of the rescue competition/ training folks and they operate in a panic driven safety state that does not give itself to what you actually see and do out on the street.
edit; the training folks at TCC's vehicle tech class did not fall into that catagory, they were all good ol' salty dogs of the metroplex... great class, we are sending you some guys next week!
Last edited by FiremanLyman; 06-11-2013 at 10:24 PM.~Drew
USAR TF Rescue Specialist
06-12-2013, 11:57 AM #6
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
I have always learned that the U-Joint, or knuckle in the steering column is a accurate concern in newer model, especially high dollar, vehicles. I have seen studies done, and participated in some regional testing, wherein a steering wheel pull resulting in a rapid sheering of this weak link sending the lower half of the column directly into the area where a trapped patients lower limbs would be at a high rate of speed and significant force. Because of these findings and concerns, our department and training academy has all but removed the steering wheel pull from the program. Instead we rely heavily on the use of a full dash roll or displacement using either a large spreader, hydraulic rams, or a combination of the two.Gary
Advanced Firefighter -T.R.F.D
Engine Co. #1 "The House On The Hill"
"What We Do In Life, Echoes In Eternity"
06-17-2013, 10:04 AM #7
Wrapping and lifting the steering column is an example of a technique (whether done with spreaders, jacks, porta powers, bumper jacks - yes I learned with them too) that has become outdated as vehicle construction and technology has changed. Steering columns in vehicles (not just high end cars) are no longer the solid steel bar from steering wheel to steering box. In addition the dash and firewall are integral parts of the vehicle's response to a collision.
Today to move a dashboard, you lift/move the dashboard - not the steering wheel/column.
Here's a more interesting scenario - what do you do when you can't lift/move a dashboard off your victim?
06-19-2013, 08:52 AM #8
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
06-25-2013, 10:21 PM #9
Since this thread has evolved into a question about steering columns, I want to share some experiences I have had with rack-and-pinion steering columns and extrication challenges. The series of images I am posting below demonstrate the convoluted designs that currently exist in vehicles today. The "Urban Legend" about these "new-fangled steering columns" actually started back in 1980 when the column design we have become familiar with was a new thing. The Chevy Citation front-wheel drive vehicle of that year had a 'split column' design. Rescue instructor Dwight Clark started explaining that pulling this kind of new column would "filet the driver" he would say, when the knuckle joint failed.
Well, it's doesn't happen like we thought back in 1980. When pulled, pushed, or lifted, these columns just simply disconnect or separate and hang harmlessly below the instrument panel. In my opinion, fear of a stressed column separating and impaling into an occupant does not represent what we have seen in the Real World.
06-25-2013, 10:23 PM #10
Saturn sedan rack-and-pinion steering column that has NOT been involved in a crash. It is designed this crooked!
06-25-2013, 10:24 PM #11
Nissan 350Z 2-door steering column (Again NOT involved in a collision-it's this way by design)
06-25-2013, 10:25 PM #12
Ford Tempo GL sedan steering column
06-25-2013, 10:29 PM #13
Mazda Protege' steering column design. (Shown in side view because it won't display in the vertical format...sorry. Turn your head sideways to see it in proper perspective)
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