1. #1
    BC White
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default Lexan Windows

    Saw an article about Lexan beimg used in cars instead of glass (except windshields) which may hit the streets in 4 years or so.
    Members of TERC were invited to try many different tools to get through/remove the Lexan.

    Outside of extrication on the street, my first thoughts are what are the odds of people living when trapped in cars on fire, or submerged with lexan in place, and not being able to break out the windows?

    Back to the street:
    The article was very proactive (thanks to TERC & the potential makers of this new window design), and like when most new car construction features are introduced, I could not wait to evaluate different (currently carried) tools on Lexan myself.

    -Evaluate our currently carried rescue equipment to enter or remove lexan.
    -Compair our findings with the findings in the article.
    -Discuss possible tactics to work around the Lexan and still gain access and extricate.
    -Time factors.
    -Patient/rescuer safety.
    -Wear and tear on equipment.

    The first step was to understand the properties, processing, and reactivity of Lexan.

    This information was provided to us by a member of our department who has a great deal of knowledge and time in the machine shop when dealing with Lexan (his 2 degrees in Engineering from Prudue University also helped).

    After spending a couple hours in the shop at the firehouse with Lexan and tools off of our rescue, me and my guy's learned a great deal. We also came up with a few different ideas of our own.

    The article was very helpful.
    Before I continue with our findings, I would like to know the following:
    -Ron, what is your experience on this topic? Is there more information on how Lexan windows will react when we try to pop doors?
    -Has anyone else played around with this as well?
    It looks like Lexan is going to happen in cars (can already be found in busses, trains and RV's), I'm just happy we can start working on this now, rather than play catch up later.

    BC White

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    BC and Others,

    Try visiting the IAFC Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee web site at:
    Scroll down about a page and a half and find the click box to "Exatec", a developer of Lexan windows. Just below that is a mention of a field trip taken by TERC members to the Exatec facility where they experimented with the high tech windows. Click on the word "PICTURES" to see photos of the trip.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm not real familiar with these new windows, but if they have plastic characteristics, maybe give this a try. Try using a right angle grinder with a diamond blade. I have cut plastic and glass with this tool just trying new things. While it does cut fast on laminate glass, it does make very small fine glass slivers. It's worth a try. Some things of concern though if it does work. Airborne particles. If this doesn't work, maybe a different kind of blade? To BC White: I agree, lets start now on finding a solution. HAPPY HUNTING

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Saw an article in Fire/Rescue magazine this month about that same issue. Probably the same writer. The talked about a few ideas but no concrete tactics yet as they hadn't tested the lexan on an actual vehicle.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    As a Fire Chief at a NASCAR track, we have had to deal with Lexan for some time. The windshields in a NSCAR car are made of lexan. Lexan is simply another plastic type material. In order to get thru it or remove it, think of it as plastic. We carry a cordless Makita 4" circular saw, and a reciprocating saw. The biggest problem is the initial entry thru the lexan. This cannot be accomplished easily with window punches, haligan tools or the pick side of an axe. The fastest way is to simply cut thru it. We use the Makita circular saw for just that, From the initial entry, you can use a variety of other saws to cut thru the plastic.

    If you are doing an extrication and are gainijng entry to the doorway, any technique that exposes an edge of the window will work. A "clamping" onto the lexan with the arms of the tool will give you all the leverage you need to pull it outward. This may actually fracture the window, but only in a few pieces, and again, with it being a plastic, the danger of injury to patients or crew are minimal.

    Experiment. Devise your own technique. Get used to the material. If you feel comfortable with the material and the tools at your disposal, gaining entry will be very easily accomplished.

    Dan Martelle

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