A Texas fire officer wrote:

"I follow your articles in Firehouse and find them informative. I have a couple of questions
regarding the May 2001 article regarding airbags in 2001 model year vehicles and beyond.

With airbags seemingly a common occurrence in B and C post and indeed in the roof. Is it still safe to cut or fold the roof off the vehicle? Obviously both operations require cutting into the roof pillars. Is this still a viable option for us? If it is still a viable option, where is it safest to cut?

A side note to this, I never thought of visiting an auto dealership to look over new vehicles and learn their Airbag ID taging system. I'm going to bring this up to our training officer and see if we can get this done.
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Answer:
Several additional teaching points regarding roof airbag systems.

I anticipate that by the time you are ready for any roof job, the vehicle electrical system has been shut down and the vehicle is stabilized.

In my opinion, a roof with an undeployed airbag system in it should be completely removed as a unit; not flipped or flapped. Total roof removal at dashboard level is the least intrusive to the loaded airbag system.

Secondly, make sure that rescue crews strip the trim of roof pillars prior to cutting. You must visualize the interior side of the pillar to see if any airbag equipment is visible. If there is evidence of a roof airbag system, knowing where it is located allows crews to work around the system.

Third point. The new 2001 Volvo V70 station wagon has a stored gas inflator module that lays flat, bolted to the roof rail right behind the C-pillar. Without stripping trim, a
crew that is flapping a roof would cut right into this as they go to make their "hinge".

Stripping roof pillar trim is the new addition to total roof removal that makes this our best bet; our least likely chance of a problem developing.

Ron Moore