Thread: Battery Disconnect SOP
04-05-2001, 02:58 PM #1S. CheathamFirehouse.com Guest
Battery Disconnect SOP
Please help me come up with an SOP on when and when not to disconnect batteries for a MVA. If you have a good SOP, let me hear it!
04-05-2001, 03:45 PM #2HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
We have a very simple SOP for battery disconnection. Always disconnect no matter what.
I know some might say that if the vehicle has no airbags or is older there is no need.
We like to keep our SOP's adrenaline proof or idiot proof if you prefer that term. Thus there is no question whether we should or not. Keep the thinking for more important tasks such as locating air bags and finding the easiest least time consuming exit routes for the patient.
04-05-2001, 07:43 PM #3D. BELLACHFirehouse.com Guest
I agree our SOP is always disconnect!.. Remember, your safety is first!
04-06-2001, 03:13 PM #4NKFFirehouse.com Guest
Our policy stands like this. Do Not disconnect the battery if there is entrapment until the patient is out of the car. What if all it takes is moving a power seat back far enough to free someones leggs? You have now just taken that option away. If you have to force the hood open you are moving the car even if it is cribbed correctly. I understand where everyone is coming from with always do it but this is something to think about.
04-06-2001, 03:31 PM #5FFTrainerFirehouse.com Guest
NKF -- I totally see your point, but do you disconnect once you confirm moving a power seat is not going to be helpful? Do you disconnect on a door pop and then say the hell with the "what if moving a power seat" theory?
We disconnect on everything for some of the same reasons as the others have but I am always curious to see other's opinions and justifications for not disconnecting since there are so many combinations of issues at that make each and every job unique.
04-06-2001, 05:04 PM #6Lewiston2CaptFirehouse.com Guest
Our esteemed moderator told me in a seminar he gave at the NYS fire academy last year that what they do is give EMS 1 minute to move what they have to move that requires electrical power. After that one minute the battery is disconnected. The only time I can see that a battery would not be disconnected would be if you couldnt get to the battery due to rollover or excessive front end damage. Other than that I say disconnect the battery every time.
Shawn M. Cecula
Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2
04-07-2001, 12:32 AM #7S. CheathamFirehouse.com Guest
Forgive my ignorance, but you guys disconnect everytime? Even when the patient is out of the vehicle? Is the main concern a short starting a fire or something else?
04-07-2001, 09:41 PM #8NFDMouseFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with the One Minute Rule. Just like "try before you pry," give the seats/windows/locks one minute and if they don't work, cut the battery cables to provide ample time for airbag power down times.
Newington FD Volunteer Firefighter, Student at University of New Haven studying Fire Science/Arson Investigation and Criminal Justice. Looking to get on Boston, Hartford, FDNY as a firefighter then eventually an investigator.
04-07-2001, 11:09 PM #986RescuetechFirehouse.com Guest
Getting back to the initial topic, you need to co-ordinate and train with you EMS crews to what they might want as well as what you need to do. Yeah, we all want to run up and cut everything as soon as we get there, but that may not work all the time. The EMS OIC may not be able to see what he/she needs in a minute. So, to answer your question in short. Every call demands seperate guidelines to follow. Just like a fire, no two extrication calls are exactly the same. If it is noted that there are no power systems in the vehicle, sure, cut or remove the cables. If there is, evaluate what is needed and work with EMS on what needs to be done. You may have to stimulate their minds about the dangers like SIPS, HPS, etc., but do it in a rapid fashion. I believe you can't have a set rule all the time for every call. There needs to be flexibility. Hope this helps. Be safe
04-11-2001, 08:05 PM #10OLEFirehouse.com Guest
If you can, remove the cables with a wrench right away, DON'T CUT CABLES! negative 1st then positive. That way if you do need to use any electrical devices on the car, it is right there ready to go. Use shaving cream on the battery posts to absorb any sparks too!
04-24-2001, 07:21 PM #11FirefiterFirehouse.com Guest
I go with the basic rule of no airbags or fluids on the ground--then the battery waits till after the extrication. If there is however fluids or airbags then EMS crew gets the time it takes for the capacitor to drain for the airbags (We have the Holmatro Vehicle Rescuers Guide). Then we move in and go to work.
04-24-2001, 10:08 PM #12AVF&R452Firehouse.com Guest
I think this is a situation that calls for "SIZE-UP". A lot of factors come into play when making the decision to disconnect. No "ALWAYS" or "NEVER" answers are going to give you the right solution every time.
I look at it as "What problems will I solve/What problems will I create" when it comes to disconnecting the battery.
I once watched two firefighters standing in a pool of gasoline trying to disconnect a battery while others were trying to extricate the driver. An EMT was in the back seat(no bunker gear, just shorts and a tank top)I know, I know, This was several years ago when EMT's were fireproof! . The point is that disconnecting the battery was not necessary at the time. In fact, It added significantly to the danger to both the victim and the rescuers. A dropped wrench could have had tragic consequences. BUT, They followed the SOP to the letter.
I tend to avoid disconnecting the battery while people are still in the car. Obviously, there are exceptions, but most of the time I will wait. I think size-up is a better choice than a hard and fast rule.
04-25-2001, 09:50 AM #13resq39Firehouse.com Guest
I hope we are not relying on capacitor drain time information from a 2nd or 3rd party. The engineers on most cars will not give you any solid info on what a vehicle will do when involved in an impact.Nor will they give you straight info on capacitor drain time. I have found that it will definitely cut down your risk of airbag release cutting the cables but I dont rely totally on that. Just something to think about . Be aware
05-10-2001, 12:16 AM #14ChiefbealFirehouse.com Guest
I like what I'm reading. No more "just put wet stuff on the red stuff" thinking. While we must follow SOP's when is the last time those SOP's were updated?
I agree that when you do an inner circle survey that you should utilize all the electrical components to your advantage. If the vehicle has theft-resistant (laminated) side windows it would be advisable to lower them before disconnecting the batteries. Could foot petals be moved forward to provide more room? Does this minivan have a sliding door that would save a lot of cutting? Should the ROPS on a convertible or even some hardtops be manualy raised before extrication is started? Disconnecting the batteries right away might be embarrassing if you find the vehicle has power door locks.
How do you disconnect a battery if its under the back seat and a patient is sitting on it?
The Honda Insight high voltage battery powers everything on the vehicle except the starting of the gasoline engine. Where do you disconnect that battery?
Batteries are not just under the hood anymore. In fact that is less common today, and look for more to be in the trunk in the future.
Last item about disconnecting (cutting is sometimes necessary) the batteries. We depend on our tow truck operators when we need cars for practice. They are part of our family. I would not want them to get hurt because we didn't make a vehicle safe.
05-10-2001, 08:48 PM #15F52 WestsideFirehouse.com Guest
We disconnect pretty much always. If you can't wrench it off, cut it off. Wrenchin' it makes the Tow Co. happier !! Somewhere I heard that tow companies were not supposed to leave them connected in the storage lot anyway.
Eddie C. - a.k.a - PTFD21
"Doin' it for lives n' property"
05-11-2001, 02:35 PM #16ejfd30Firehouse.com Guest
Folks, Just a thought for you, how about when necessary, or when it makes sense too, If you are doing it for air bags, I think you are doing it for the wrong reason. Start at the beginning, the first step in stabilizing a car is making sure it is shut OFF, with the keys on the Dash. We have too many things Pushing all of us on scene to do a better faster Job, never mind somebody timing me for a minute before I remove the Batt cable. EMS don't want to be pushed like that... I think this one comes under using common sense.
05-13-2001, 03:10 PM #17jpchevFirehouse.com Guest
Lots of good things here, SOP's or better SOG's should be just that! GUIDES! we must still rely on our good judgement because every scene is different. My Dept's general rule is disconnect all batteries in MVA's but we will not cut the battery if doing so will not improve the SAFETY of the situation at that moment. If patient(s) and EMT's are in vehicle and there appears to be no imminent fire hazard (smoking wires etc.) then we do not cut until victims are clear. NO need to make the situation worse by potentially making sparks. Always have fire protection at the vehicle (30 lb. ABC MANNED! extinguisher minimum) Shaving cream is a new one, I'll have to try that. If we have to start major extrication then battery is cut. Basically it is read the scene and make your decisions, if you can't improve it then don't risk making it worse. John
05-28-2001, 08:56 PM #18esd17Firehouse.com Guest
Our Dept SOP is to always disconnect. Personnel should Move all power seats back, lower all power windows and try the power door locks. And disconnect the battery cables. Do not cut them, in case you need to reconnect them later.
06-13-2001, 02:54 PM #19DFursethFirehouse.com Guest
My personal feelings on the "Great Battery" debate is that if it can be disconnected quickly and safely, fine. But with newer cars putting the batteries all over the car and almost always inaccessible, were eating up our Golden Hour and using valuable personel doing the "battery hunt" and not for the actual patient care and extrication. Again, what if the car is upside down and the hood comletely in-accessible? "Gotta get that battery disconnected no matter what". I disagree. Between normal and complex stabilization, patient access, assessment, packaging and removal, were taking too much time. If we can get 6-8 rescers on the scene of a bad MVA during the day, were lucky. So we read the scene, and decide then if the battery is a priority.
Other than the Dayton OH. incident, has anyone actually confirmed an airbag deployment during a rescue?? I've asked this before and always get "yeah, I head of some department out west that did", but there is usually no cold hard facts to back it up.
My view: Be aware of undeployed airbags, but don't be so paranoid that we let someone bleed out before we touch a vehicle with them.
DeForest Fire Dept. (WI)
[This message has been edited by DFurseth (edited 06-13-2001).]
06-16-2001, 01:03 AM #20vogelfuerFirehouse.com Guest
Boy did you open a can of worms or what? There's a lot of good debate here but I believe you were asking for help with an SOP. Let me answer you with a question. Have you ever heard of a standard mva with entrapment? Our department has sort of accidentaly done it what I still think is the best way. Our SOP establishes getting the tools on the tarp, establish IC, designate action area, and letyour IC make his 360 and he'll tell you what to do. there are so many for instances that be argued a million ways but if you just keep it basic and remember the old USMC saying of "improvise, adapt, overcome " you'll beat the beast every time.
Miller- York VFD
06-17-2001, 12:41 PM #21Rescue 101Firehouse.com Guest
I agree with the DISCONNECT don't cut theory.If after disconnecting from the battery you tie the two ends together electrically(jumper wire)you will significantly cut your capacitor bleed off time.WARNING:Make sure the vehicle DOES NOT HAVE MULTIPLE BATTERIES before you do this.A little "grey matter" is required.
06-20-2001, 12:47 AM #22TwostixFirehouse.com Guest
Just a reminder. When you reconnect battery cables for whatever reason, the air bag capacitors get a fresh charge also and have to drain down all over again.
Be Safe! Get Home! Twostix
06-21-2001, 12:31 AM #23T. FaullFirehouse.com Guest
Have any of you that don't think it is important ever seen a fellow FF injured by a airbag. Now I realize that not every car out there has bags but this is why they are called sops'.
One thing we will do is move the seats if possible and unplug any electrical items that have batteries that could backfeed into the airbag capacitors. Next cut the battery and finally turn on the headlights. The lights should drain any remaining power from the capacitors.
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