1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default Squeezing with the Spreader

    In the June Univesity of Extrication article, I focused your attention to the "Upper Rail" structure of a vehicle. In accompanying photos, I showed set ups where a spreader was squeezing the rocker channel to form a push point for a power ram rolling a dash. There may be a controversy within your department about squeezing with a spreader and I want to offer some thoughts on this subject.

    I have always used spreaders as squeezers if determine I need to during a dash roll evolution. I remain alert to any torsional loading that could twist and damage the spreader arms. I routinely use 32B, an Amkus spreader, or any other full size unit with thick tips and thick arms for this task.

    I have also tried to use the cutter as a ram base plate but have not had as much success.
    You cut into the channel so the cutter is tight. You're supposed to push directly off the bolt of the cutter with this technique.

    Truth of the matter is I don't roll dashes much. I jack them! I find that technique more efficient, more reliable and less time consuming. Also rolling the dash is a challenge with third doors such as the Saturn coupe 3-door or extended cab third/fourth door pickups. There is no B-pillar by design.

    If you do want to use a spreader as a squeezer and you feel that side loading will be a problem, use your spreader to clamp a 2x4 on the top side of the rocker channel near where you want to push from. The spreader arms squeezing the block are clamped about 2 inches from the end of the wood. Place the base of the ram against this short stub end of the clamped 2x4 rather than directly onto the tool. This significantly reduces stress to the arms of the tool.

    Ron Moore

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There is a tool in Florida called the "Gator Clamp" that is used in place of pushing off the spreader arms. It has large jaws that are set in position around the rocker panel. Works great for the third door evolution too. There are rumors that the tool will show up at the international competition this September.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    we regularly use the speaders as clamp to effect a dash roll and have never experenced any prombles with this operation.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Mr. Moore,
    First let me say that I am an avid reader of your advice in vehicle extrication. I am not disagreeing with anything that you have posted about useing the Spreaders as a"Push-point" for the Rams. I have done this in the past with great results.
    The most disadvantageous thing about this is that you will be tying up your spreaders therefore, prohibiting future use in the incident.
    Another "TRICK" which works very well and is no more time consuming than squezing the spreaders onto the rocker panel is:

    1. Remove the plastic trim on the rocker panel.
    2. Squeeze the rocker panel with the spreaders in the area where the base of the ram will sit.
    3. Be sure to build up cribbing under the "Squeezed" area so that it touches the rocker panel.
    4. Insert the base of the ram into the "V" that is left from the spreaders.
    5. Slowly extend the ram, the bottom will seat by digging into the metal on the rocker and the dash will lift beautifully.

    Also, don't forget that you can use the accessory tips for the ram to help seat the base. (I'm referring to Hurst items)

    It sounds like a lot to do but as you know, any well run accident scene will have numerous things going on at once. The rocker can be prepared when the relief cuts are made. The spreaders can squeeze the ram position any time after the rocker panel is prepared and the blocking can be installed while other things are going on. All that needs to be done now is put the ram in and push.
    A quick reminder to wedge the relief cuts when the ram has extended to where you want it. Remember, "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction" and if the rams must be removed to free the patient then we don't want the dash springing back down onto them.
    Please, if there is anything that I have said that is not a safe practice or that can be improved upon please let me know. I am always eager to obtain extrication knowledge.

    This forum is a great idea!! Keep up the good work!!

  5. #5
    skip rupert61
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Clamping the rocker panel with spreaders is an option, however, in our neck of the woods, we use "ram blocks". It is a piece of "U" channel that sits on the rocker panel which gives the base of the ram something to push from. These have been around for a while. We have had ours about 10 years or so.

    Holmotro and Lukas have both come out with their own version of a "ram block". I dont recall what each calls theirs, but seeing them at the show in Harrisburg PA in May, they both seem like would work fine. Even with a missing "B" post.

  6. #6
    Mr. Freeze
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    With our Hurst spreaders when we squeeze we try to keep the contact limited to the tip surface, but here and there something will get in the way. Speaking of squeezing, putting the pinch on the upper wheel well area that I believe was in the same issue made a huge difference in vehicle movement when we tried it in our last evolution. There were some guys there who had been told to stand by with more cribbing to place just aft of the front tires that kinda looked at me funny when I said that we won't need it. Sure enough, relief cuts tore, dash came WAY up (spreader on one, ram on the other) and hood and all folded up straight across from one pinch to the other. Front bumper didn't drop an inch, and we didn't need any more cribbing. Opened some eyes. Of course then the fellas found the issue and took back some of the praise! I'll have to hide the next one!

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Here in NSW, Australia, we (the NSW Fire Brigades) cut the B pillar in such a way that we leave enough of it to provide a pushing point for the rams. Not much of the B pillar is required to be an effective pushing point for the ram (approx 3"), and when the casualty is being removed, we cover the excess with a bit of PVC pipe approx 30cm (12") long and 13cm (5") diameter with a cut made lengthways. The section of pipe is placed on the bottom rail over the remaining section of the pillar. We carry plenty of these on our rescue trucks as they can be used anywhere protruding metal may be a danger to personnel.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Being in a college teaching environment I have had the opportunity to use just about every tool on the market. We have clamped and crushed stuff on a wide variety on vehicles. I have had only one problem in 15 years (broke the base of one arm on an Amkus spreader during a light weight door squeeze go figure?).

    Have fun, work safe!

  9. #9
    Jim Greene
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hi Ron,
    As you stated above I have used the o cutters as a push point for a ram in a pinch. They had cut the B post to short & the Pt. needed to get out now. The tips were pierst the floor pan & the blade just started to cut the rocker panel. We did push off the bolt also. As others have stated, you need to make relief cuts. We make 2 cuts, 1 were the rocker panel rounds up to the A post, 2 just below the lower hinge on the A post.
    As I said we used this in a pinch.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It sounds like the rocker panel squeeze is a good option and in this business we need all those we can get! Anyone have an experience with fuel lines running down the rockers in newer vehicles?

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