Received a great inquiry from Holmatro Rescue Tools. Here's the edited question-

Dear Ron:
Read your U/E article on the Audi roof airbag.(March 2001) In the photos you used in the article the bag appears to be deflated, but they were also apparently taken some time after the accident. Can you please clarify the status of the bag after deployment?

For the rescuer needing to deal with these bags, it is important to know the post-deployment status and how to quickly and safely deal with it.

And my reply-
I'm familiar with how the HPS tubular airbag remains rigid for an extended period of time after deployment. I witnessed a crash test at the IIHS lab and found the driver's side airbag firm for over four hours.

What Plano responders found with the 2001 Audi A6 airbag deployment was that the bag DID NOT remain firm or rigid. It was more like what we typically encounter with deflated frontal airbags.

In my opinion, the deployed roof-mounted airbag and the seat airbag could be easily removed by cutting through the thin bag itself. There would not be any explosive burst of pressurized gas. The material was not reinforced or a heavy thickness material. It was thin; even appearing thinner than a typical frontal airbag. The roof-mounted airbag was not at all constructed like the HPS tubular airbag from BMW.

The Audi airbag would not be able to be removed by cutting the tether strap at the front A-pillar. The bag itself will have to be cut apart to get it out of your way at a crash scene. In the Plano incident, the lone driver was ambulatory when first crews arrived so the bag was left intact.

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Ron Moore
Fire Training Manager
Plano (TX) Fire Rescue
(214) 728-6776