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  1. #1
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    Default Deflating Tires on Vehicle Extrications

    We are running into debate and problems with our Police Department on Vehicle Accidents that involve extrication. The Police Officers (Traffic Cop Investigator) that show up on vehicle accidents that involve extrication, they are telling us that we cannot deflate the tires and are very adamant about it, sometimes it gets into a heated debate/discussion. Not all calls that involve extrication need the tires deflated but there are ones that you need to deflate the tires so to stabilize the car correctly. I spoke to a Police Officer off the record and she advised that during a vehicle accident investigation, the Traffic Officer who is investigating the accident needs to check proper inflation of the tires but it's a very small piece of the investigation. Our Extrication Team deflates tires when we compete during extrication competition and as stated above not all calls need the tires deflated but there are times they need to be deflated and we do. I am asking what is the national average or what is your department doing referanced to deflating tires on accident scenes.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber F52Westside's Avatar
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    When the wheel chocks go in, the tires come down. Covering two U.S. higways and an Interstate, our dept. has had its share of extrications. Our P.D. nor the County Sheriff has complained about deflating the tires.
    The Tow Truck drivers used to complain, when the dept. pulled the stems. Now we have Tire tools which screw on the valve and let the air out, allowing us to reinflate once the patient has been removed.

    Stay Safe & Bring 'em Home!
    Eddie C.
    I.A.F.F. Local 3008

    "Doin' it for lives n' property"

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and not that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

  3. #3
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    I have never deflated tires to enhance vehicle stabilization, nor do I remember seeing it done on many extrications that I have been on over the years. Do you really think that it does that much good? If the vehicle is chocked and blocked, will it move much? I think there are bigger issues to work out with local PD than to worry about deflating tires. Just my thoughts.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber jsdobson's Avatar
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    Todd,

    I agree with fireman077, if the vehicle is properly stabilized with cribbing (and wheel chocks if necessary), there should be no reason to deflate the tire.

    If you crib the vehicle and then deflate the tires, how will you remove the cribbing ?

    While recording the tire pressure may be a small element of the police investigation, we should all hold to the medical oath of "do no harm." In other words, don't mess up someone else's investigation. That piece of evidence may be just the info that determines a person's guilt or innocence.
    BE SAFE
    Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate

  5. #5
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    After cribbing or choking a vehicle it is still necessary to deflate the tires. As long as the tire is inflated and touching the ground the cribbing is not holding the weight of the vehicle and therefore the vehicle is not (Rock solid Stable. The sidewalls of the tire buckle allowing the vehicle to sway. This is the same principle that is used on Ladder trucks, if you ever wondered why the outriggers lift the entire wheels off of the ground. As for getting the blocks back out, this was an extrication so we usually have some sort of extrication tools, jaws, spreaders,rams, lift bags, etc. etc. Even a simple car jack will do the job after the scene is secured and the patients have been removed. As far as a beef with the cops, I have never heard of a problem in my area of Pinellas County, and we run over 40,000 total calls a year with many of these being Auto Accidents.

  6. #6
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    Test the pressure with a tire guage. Write the pressure on the sidewall with a piece of chalk (or the fender with a grease pencil). Deflate the tire.

    I've never heard of the police getting upset about the deflation of tires. But if it's an issue there, you certainly don't want it turning into a sore spot between the departments. Measuring and recording tire pressure won't add that much time to your extrication.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  7. #7
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    Test the tire pressure, record it, then deflate!? How about on a crime scene, pick up the gun, take out the bullets, and put the gun back, record what you did. Yeah, right, defend your scientific process, user certification, and equipment validation/calibration checks to the defense attorney! But lets get away from the law enforcement concerns, I still don't believe you are gaining any additional stability by flattening the tires.

    Cribbing and chocking are for stabilizing, not for "rock solid support". As far as the bulge in the tire allowing the vehicle to sway - what extrication technique or situation requires enough lateral or perpendicular forces to displace the vehicle that much?

    Sorry, but the ladder truck analogy was weak. Not all manufacturers recommend lifting all of the tires off the ground. Some only recommend outrigger placement and "lift" until there is enough support to take the weight off of the tries (sidewall stretch). Did you ever work and old aerial with hand-screw jacks (no hydraulics)? I have. Believe me, no amount of muscle was going to screw those jacks to lift the truck, let alone take the weight off of the tries. The purpose of an outrigging system is to allow transfer of torque generated by aerial operations to be displaced through the outriggers.

    Vehicle extrication cribbing and chocking, aka stabilizing the vehicle, does not require that the load of the vehicle be transferred to the cribbing, only that the cribbing provide stabilization and prevent movement when forces are applied to the vehicle. Maybe you can't teach an old dog a new trick, but I need a little better "proof" that we are really gaining by adding another task to a multi-task extrication that our members perfroom.

    Again, just my thought. Thanks for listening!

  8. #8
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    Here is a different angle, a technique showed to some of us by a Hurst Dealer/Instructor. Place your cribbing, step chocks work best, with a two man team. One man prepares to insert the blocks, the other person stands with their back to car at each wheel - pick up the car slightly with their hands (gloved of course) under the lip of the wheel well or fender as your partner slides the step block in place. You are not actually lifting the car, only taking a little weight off the springs. Once this is done on both sides of vehicle with either 3 or 4 blocks in place, the vehicle is now solidly supported on the blocks. The tires are still touching ground but are not supporting any of the car weight.
    We have tried it, it works, it is easy and takes very little time to do. The car is stable for extrication and no movement to further injury to patient.
    Like I said, just another angle.
    John C

  9. #9
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Been doing this stuff for 21 years now, and have only seen tires deflated on a scene around here one time, and that was for an underride to give more access. If you properly place step chocks, you do not need to worry about the tires being deflated or not. jpchev describes the method I prefer to do this. The end result is a stable platform. And to support fireman077, our 2000 model LTI 85' Tower is NOT to be lifted off the ground with the outriggers, it is raised until the bulge comes out of the tires and the weight transfers from the chassis to the outriggers. This, in effect, is what the placement of step chocks as described accomplishes.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  10. #10
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    A properly stabilized vehicle should not be moveable whether or not the tires are deflated. If you wedge your step chocks or other cribbing, that should take most of the weight off the tires. My department(s) have never deflated tires and we have never had any problems with it.

  11. #11
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    anytime you put the tool to the car,even to "just pop the door" you need to stabilize the car then deflate the tires.even if you are using step chocks to stabilize the car without deflating the tires you are defeating the purpose of stabilization.if you dont rest that chassis on something substantial the car will rock and roll and what you actually want to do with the tool you are using,will be greatly reduced. also think about the victim(s) in the car,if you have several rescuers swarming around and over the car the car may experienced some undo movement and possibly hurt the patient. mike m

  12. #12
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    Simple scenerio to you all: do your cribbing, then put your hand on the fender and shake the car, it may be rock solid or it may not. I will give you that you do an outstanding job of wedging wood and/ or plastic in place and it is solid when you start! Now start you extrication, even if you do no more than remove the paitent, come back and check the car now. Now that you have removed 100-250 pounds. If the wheels / tires are touching the ground (still inflated)the vehicle will lift and the cribbing will losen. Now throw a roof or a door into the mix. We haven't even got to the point of discussing how when you apply a set of spreaders to a car how it may torque and twist. It doesn't take much of a lift when the suspension is not deactivated. Simple answer is deflate! As for the crime scene idea, would you move a gun to save a life? Life comes first last and always and an improperly stabilized car can cost a Life, BTW check the published texts on Rescue (there is multitude of answers there, but you can take these guys [the authors] into court with you, or at least there text to justify your actions). And as far as the lift method, well don't let Dwight Clark or anyone that has any concern for our safety see you do that, Not a good way to use your back , be safe deflate Oh yes check www.zmagrescue.com for another technique for deflating ZMAG Quic-chucks I think they are called you can buy em or make em, Just another idea for you all to look at
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

  13. #13
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    I just want to agree with jpchev.
    That method of using two men to insert the chocks is used by us down here in New Zealand.One takes up the slack in the springs by lifting at the wheel arch the other slips the chocks and the optional wedge.

    regards from kiwiland

    later loader.

  14. #14
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    Some departments in Belgium lift the car too, but still, I am a supporter of the deflation of the tires.
    We only lift the car if the tires are allready flat or if the wheel came off...

    Maybe both ways have their good and bad sides, I don't think the police research will be set back this far by our rescue... And if it was the case... What is more important???

  15. #15
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    If the police in Todd's area really have a problem with the tire's being deflated before they get a pressure reading, then the police will just have to get there sooner, won't they? Otherwise, they're at the mercy of the decisions made by the fire department.

    I thought that (perhaps) if Todd's department offered to record tire pressure before deflating the tire then it might ease tensions between the fire and police. Likely, the police will say the same things mentioned above, but at least there was an attempt at a compromise.

    Fact is, if the fire department is performing an extrication and they deem it necessary to deflate the tires, the tires are going to be deflated.

    I prefer to crib the vehicle and then deflate the tires. I've never had a police officer complain about tire deflation, but the wreckers drivers don't like it much. In our last extrication class, I bought a can of Fix-A-Flat, cut the fill hose off of it, and then connected the hose to the valve stem of the tire. This doesn't work nearly as fast as pulling the valve stem out, but it allows the tire to be reinflated, and is a little more controlled.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  16. #16
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    I'm with some of the other guys. I see no reason to deflate the tires. In fact I never have and never have taught a extrication course where myself or the lead instructor has taught that. If you stabilize correctly I do not see the need to deflate the tires. The 2 man method I have taught and have seen taught in many states. As far as the vehicle rocking, you will always get some play, whether its a little bounce or interiorly with seat movement etc. And as a paramedic the little bit of movement you get will not grossly affect patient outcome. Lets remember, you still move the patient to get them on a KED, board, and out of the car. If you stabilize properly, the vehicle will move no worse then the ride you will get in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
    As far as testing the tire pressure and writing it down. Comendable opinion, however, #1 it wouldn't be admissible in court or an investigation. And #2 I wouldn't want to sit on the stand across from a defense attorney who will turn you inside out. Would I move a gun? Depends on the situation but I would probably move the patient. Thats also why we cut all their clothes off on any trauma. However it is apples and oranges. Deflating tires will not determine patient outcome in any manner, if you stabilize correctly.
    -------------------------------------------
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  17. #17
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    would i let any movement of the vehicle be allowed,not in a heart beat.i've taught extrication to hundreds of truck ,rescue and squad companies.i've had the honor of teaching and learning from some of the leading extrication insructors in the country,and they all recommend stabilizing with step chocks then deflating the tires.this procedurewill then give you a good platform to work off of and thus giving you tool the little extra edge it needs to do the job.as far as minimizing patient movement,if any procedure that would limit patient movement of the vehicle,i would definetly go for it,whose to say alittle movement would'nt have an adverse effect on the patient mike m.

  18. #18
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    Geess, did this ever stir up the troops. Ok, heres my two cents. First of all I totaly agree that you get get a car just as solid with out deflating as I can with deflation. But I challenge you to keep it solid throughout the entire extrication. Carl bounced off of it but I use the fat lady in the little car theroy. Did you ever go to the mall and watch the fat lady get out of the little car? If you are standing close enough you can hear the springs and shocks breath a sigh of relief. Springs and shocks do what springs and shocks were designed to do, and that is contract unload and expand wehn the load is lifted. We can all "get" the car solid. But then we throw in a medic, remove glass (could be up to 80 pounds) tear off the door (lets say another 80 pounds), remove the roof (thats a good 100 pounds), and then the 200 pound medic crawls out of the back to help with the board. We haven't even figured on the 5 or 10,000 pounds worth of hydrolics twisting and bending and torqueing evey which way. The only way to 100% guarantee zero movement it to eleiminate the suspension system. Cribbing to a loaded frame and then unloading it will quickly put an air space between your chocks and the frame. I liked the comment about not being able to get your chocks back if you deflate ...... Guess what!!! That means its working !!! If you walk over and pull all your cribbing out with 2 fingers when your done that means they were lose!! Try this next time, this is a little trick I learned from some of the TERC judges, (they will shoot me for letting this out) You know that little ball on the end of the antenia on the car, watch it. If it wiggles, that means the car is wiggling. Good judges will monitor that ball while the teams are working to determine proper stabilazation.
    This discussion can go on forever, you can agree or disagree with deflation that fine with me. The only thing that I ask is that if you do deflate at least do it properly. The days of John Wayning the tire with the Buck knife are gone. Jerking the stem out with the vise grips should also be banned. These methods committ you to an operation that has no stop button and no reverse. Use the proper tools, whether it be the fix-a-flat gizmo, my Z-Flation kit, or just a simple valve stem removal tool. Use a method that gives you control and the options to reinflate .... so you can get your cribbing back.

    Zmag

  19. #19
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    In our department our protocol used to be place step blocks in place and deflate the tyres but our crash investigation officers (police) kicked up a big stink that we were deliberately interferring with their investigation. Now we use what ever means to stabilize and most times it isn't much as most vehicles are bent that much they are self stabilized. Stay Safe.

  20. #20
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Deflated or not deflated, you still run the risk of the car coming off your supports when you start tearing them apart. Therefore, you should be assigning someone to constantly check on the stability of your cribbing during the evolution. So, that argument does not hold water.

    Writing down tire pressures before you delfate could get you (and your tire pressure gauge) a few trips to court. Try it if you like, but you will have to explain to the jury when the last time your tire pressure guage was calibrated.

    If in doubt, let it out. As for the schools I have attended and assisted at, none have advocated letting air out as a matter of routine.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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