1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default Stabilizing vehicle on it's side

    What are some different methods to stabilizing cars on their side. Any ideas as to what would be the safest?

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have been using 4X4 wood posts inserted into Zmag Ground Pads. These posts are secured to the vehicle with ratchet staps and make a VERY secure and stable vehicle. On the other side of the vehicle we use common step cribs (making sure that they are placed out of the way of where we are going to be cutting). With particularly unstable vehicles, I like to use a winch and cable to provide a little more protection.


  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Posting from Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

    Here is the text for a future 1999 University of Extrication article on stabilization. I'm sharing it now so others may make comments, suggestions or additions before it runs in the magazine.
    One of the more remarkable innovations to gain acceptance among those in the extrication field in 1998 is that of "tensioned" buttress stabilization.

    Three principal equipment manufacturers and the IAFC's Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee(TERC) are responsible for the increased awareness of this excellent technique.

    With a car on its' edge, one objective of stabilization is to spread the base of stability. This is just what an aerial ladder truck does when its' outriggers are lowered into position. At a rollover crash scene, standard buttress stabilization is done anytime a tool or device is placed on a diagonal (typically a 45 degree angle) to brace against the vehicle and the ground. I've done this for years with equipment such as four foot-long 4x4 wood cribbing, Porto-Power extension tubing, or hydraulic power rams. This is not the only way to stabilize a car on its' edge, but we're confining our discussion to this type of stabilization effort.

    Looking at a picture of a car with standard buttress stabilization in place, you can see a triangle shape if you draw a vertical line representing the car, a diagonal line representing the buttress crib device and a horizontal line represented by the ground.

    Standard stabilization in this fashion, although it works, can be greatly improved upon by "tensioning" the buttress or diagonal brace. Mike Schmidt, owner of the Pennsylvania-based company called ZMAG, makes an all-steel device called the Ground Pad. It consists of a metal plate with a square metal boot or cup hinged to it. The boot accepts the butt end of dimensional 4"x4" lumber. There is an adjustable ratchet strap welded to one side of the flat plate.

    Mr. Todd Howell, President of Howell Rescue in Dayton Ohio makes a similar device called their Capa Bear Claw. This unit however, is of all aluminum construction. The Bear Claw's ratchet strap device used to tension the buttress cribbing is mounted at the center of the base plate. The Bear Claw also has a square aluminum boot which accepts the bottom end of dimensional 4"x4" wood cribbing.

    The tensioned buttress device offered by Mr. Steve Cudmore, President of Airshore, Inc of Vancouver Canada is an all-aluminum unit resembling a flat plate with a large pin positioned horizontally across its' center. The Airshore unit also has an adjustable strap device centered on one side. This device works with the Airshore stabilization struts and their various swivels and attachment devices.

    Here's what's so simple yet so radically different between standard buttress stabilization and "tensioned" buttress stabilization. With either of these three new devices, the user still sets the wood crib or aluminum strut bracing in place first, forming an approximately 45 degree diagonal brace. This initially begins stabilization of the vehicle. To employ the "tensioned" buttress stabilization technique however, the rescuer then runs the nylon ratchet strap or nylon rope provided by the manufacturer from the bottom of the diagonal brace where it contacts the ground back to a low point on the vehicle being stabilized. The adjustable ratchet is then drawn snug, pulling the strap or rope tight. This draws the diagonal brace into load or tension against the vehicle and immediately stiffens an unstable vehicle. It doesn't take much pull on the ratchet strap for the rescuer to quickly draw the entire car and the stabilization devices into tension.

    What a difference! A pair of tensioned buttress supports on each side of a rollover vehicle can truly make the vehicle rock solid. The "tensioned" buttress stabilization technique is simple, safe, quick and very effective. Check it out!

    You can contact the three manufacturers mentioned in this article at;

    ZMag Rescue, Glen Rock, PA

    KETTERING, OH 45432
    (513)256-4400 TELEPHONE

    Airshore, Inc Vancouver BC Canada

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks Ron ...At the risk of being a commerical you can contact me at 717-235-6446 or E-Mail Zmagrescue@aol.com for more info


  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I must argree with ron as to using a prop tensioned with a nylon ratchet strap.

    my rescue unit uses a acro-prop which is a alloy adjusable prop used quite commmonly by builders here in australia, as the main prop. we find that the prop being ajustable in height very useful and the same prop could be used in a vechical in-to a building rescue to ensure the roof of the struture does not fall in.

    to ensure the base of the prop doesnot move we have construted a 4' long peg with a plate welded on to it that martches the base of the acro-prop. this is hammed in to the ground and the ratchet strap is atchacted to the peg, the prop is then placed on the pegs base plate and ajusted to take up tension on to the vechical, the strp is then afixed to the vechiacl at a hard point such as a suspension arm and light pressure is then applyed back on the strap.

    we have found that 1 of these props set properly is enough to hold a normal car.
    we always if posable mount this system to the floor plan of the car, so that if a roof flap or removal is required the prop is not in the way.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Posting from Ron Moore, forum Moderator

    The March edition of the University of Extrication features 'Stabilization, Part 1". This will be the complete article that I posted above along with four color pictures. The tools shown are the Airshore aluminum strut system, the ZMAG Ground Pad, and the Capabear Claw from American Rescue Technology. In addition, the Zama Point, a metal-toothed cap that fits on 4x4 cribbing is shown in operation.

    Stabilization, Part 2 will continue the discussion of "tensioned" stabilization. Featured products in the April University of Extrication edition will be the 'RES-Q-JAK' from Cepco Tool Company and the 'Crutch', manufactured by Steve Bourne in Florida.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ron's use of the Z-Mag is an excellent one for companies starting to look at the different aspects of vehicle rescue with a limited budget. The two heavy rescues I work with also do collapse and trench rescue. We have implimented the use of Paratech Achme Screw struts. We would place the strut in the appropriate location, hand tighten the strut then ratchet strap or use vehicle tie-downs. We have found that with the diffent ends to the struts can adapt to any situation as well as the collapse and trench applications. They are very expensive but are used for vehicles on the sides more then the frequency of trench or collapse calls.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Post from Ron Moore, Moderator


    I like your thinking. Anytime one tool can do several tasks, it increases its' value to me. Paratech struts, like the Airshore struts are more expensive than single-purpose stabilization devices but as you mentioned, they also work for other types of rescue.

    I would not buy Airshore or Paratech struts JUST to stabilize a vehicle but if I had those systems, I'd surely learn how to stabilize a vehicle with them as you mentioned.

    By the way, make sure you check out the Holmatro booth and the Hurst booth at FDIC. We'll see these vendors "strutting" some new stuff (if you get my meaning).

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    All of these tools work very well. We have used the A.R.T., Jimi-Jak & Paratech struts. Zmag makes those great ground pads that work very well and are in-expensive. Even though struts can be expensive, they are a godsend in certain situations. Their ability to adapt to different materials, angles and inherent strength can overcome a difficult situation.

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