A posting from RoN Moore, Forum Moderator
Rmoore@firehouse.com

Extrication really IS "weight loss"

I set out to conduct research to emphasize that during extrication work, the crashed vehicle undergoes rapid "weight loss". My first simple experiment was conducted last week on a donated 1994 Ford Taurus 4-door sedan. I wanted to see how much total weight we remove from a vehicle as we conduct typical extrication tasks.

After stabilizing the Taurus sitting on four wheels on a level surface, I removed all side glass, the rear window, and the windshield. I could get almost all of the tempered side glass to fall out because the owner had installed window tinting that bonded the glass together. Average weight of a side window glass, 3+ lbs; the Taurus was now 15 lbs lighter.

When I broke the rear window, there was minimal weight loss because most of the rear glass fell onto the rear shelf and did not lighten the car. No weight loss here.

The windshield was sawed out next, leaving only a small edge of glass all around the opening. Total weight of the laminated glass; 16 lbs.

Next, I removed the entire sidewalls of the vehicle. Front doors weighed 72 lbs each. Each B-pillar was another 8 lbs. The rear doors weighed in at 49 lbs.

I then totally removed the roof by cutting each pillar low. The roof weighed in at 78 lbs.

In all, when I was done, I had removed a total 364 pounds of mass. On a full-size vehicle or a big sport utility, I'm guessing similar items will weigh more. Add to that a 200-250lb driver being extricated, a 200 pound passenger , two kids in the rear at 70-100 pounds each (or full size rear seat adults at 200 lbs each) and on a full-size vehicle, I could remove close to 1,000 pounds; a 1/2 ton of weight from a vehicle during an extrication operation. Extrication really is "weight loss". All the more reason to check the integrity of your stabilization work throught the duration of your scene activities.

1994 Taurus 4-door sedan:
3 lbs side window each; 12 lbs total
72 lbs front door ea; 144 lbs total
49 lbs rear door ea; 98 lbs total
8 lbs B-pillar ea; 16 lbs total
16 lbs windshield
78 lbs roof