1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default The Basics...step chocks.

    First: I think I'm going to like this site...

    Alright everybody, nothing new here, but I have a somewhat 'controversial' topic here...the 'correct' use of step chocks, on cars on all four wheels.

    Ideally, step chocks are placed under the frame rails or similar point of the car to stabilized and the tire stems are then pulled, dropping the car a fraction of an inch to rest soundly on the step chocks.

    When we have an extrication that involves a jammed door or less, we might not always pull the stems. What methods do you guys use?

    1) Pick up the car (by hand) just enough for another rescuer to pushe the chock in to the next step.

    2) Place a wedge under the fat end of the chock, between it and the ground.

    3) Place a small wedge on the step of the chock and kick (tap gently with a dead-blow non-sparking mallet) the whole thing in.

    4) Turn the chock over so its 'steps' are against the ground, and use it as a large wedge. (I've seen those big wedges, too)


    5) neglect stabilization altogether.

    With my department, which is fairly busy, using the chocks is an automatic thing, but there are several opinions floating about regarding the proper way to use them (if you're not pulling stems)

    So what do you think?

    Sean Brooks
    Berwyn Heights V.F.D.
    Prince George's Co., MD

  2. #2
    Richard Benkwitt
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thornwood Fire district almost alway's uses the number one idea, lift the vehicle by the fender wheel opening and insert the step chocks. We minimize the lifting so as not to move the patient. We also place wheel chocks on the tire so the car does not roll. The lift and insert method of setting the step chocks is the fastest and easiest that I know of. The car can be rolled onto a flatbed or taken away by tow truck with the tires inflated. Pulling the stem makes it difficult to tow the vehicle. The accident scene is then not cleared as quickly if the valve stem is removed, so we do not use this technique.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The "Lift and push" method works well for us as long as the proper lift methods are used. Back to the fender and lift with the legs, not the back. The only thing that I would like to throw in is to be carefull not to be fooled by plastic flaring and rocker panels. We have found that many of the new "Low Rider" sporty cars are so low to the ground plus have the low profile tires that proper stabilization with step chocks is diffacult. We are still using the same design for chocks that worked excellant on 70's and 80's model cars. Many of those chocks are too high and too long to be effective on the 99 models. Also since only the first or second "step" gets used before contact with the undercarrage, much of the remanding chock presents a trip hazard or an obstruction to door opening or removal. It's still the first choice for the quick attack, but be aware that they don't always work like they used to.


  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Those 'low riders' are easily cribbed by a simple 4x4" wedge on a 4x4" or 2x4" piece of cribbing. This also works well when the tire has come off of the wheel or the wheel has come off the car. (Or the car is 'planted' in the ground/woods)

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We do a similar idea of lifting but use a hurst 28 inch spreader with a pad attachment one on arm. Put the pad on the ground, spread the arms enough the lift the vehicle just off the ground, slide in the step chocks and set her down. It sound like it takes along time, but, it usually only takes a few seconds. We have the spreaders and a O-scears pre plumbed to individual hydro/electric reels so set up time is practiaclly nil.

  6. #6
    Ken Niceliu
    Firehouse.com Guest


    How can you stabilize a car bylifting it buy the fender and sliding the step cribbing under? When you lift the car you are moving the car considerable and don't say your not you are . You are to place the step cribbing underneath the car and use wedges to bring the step crib up to the car with little movement , then you DON'T need to blow the tires.And using the step cribbing as wedges under a car not I would like a good size of cribbing under the car then a sliver stabilizing the car.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It seems you have drawn a lot of fire on this question and I think you already know the answer. By leaving the air in the tires you can cause movement in the vehicle. Regardless of the fact that it appears to be "only" a simple door displacement, you may have a situtation develop later that will cause you to go back and do the missing critical step or risk injury to personnel or patient because you didn't.

    Since you have cribbing and it is common place by your department to use it, wedges would be my choice to supplement the smaller boards. If the space between the frame is so narrow that you can only get a wedge in, the tires might have been blown and riding on the rim/drums. Once you have personnel inside the vehicle, added weight may cause shifting which will cause bounce in the tires. which would not be desirable in a C-spine injury. The other very important point is that toes get into places that they shouldn't. As you know unibody construction is dependent on the whole frame. If you make a cut, the rocker channel could drop down on that toe. An injury will be less likely with the proper cribbing practices.

    Good Luck!

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