1. #1
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    Default Cutting the latch and hinges

    When we started vehicle extrication we were told not to cut any hard steel like door hinges and nader pin with our hydraulic cutters. When we got our new cutters the dealer told us we could cut these things . We tride this and it work good but it took a lot of pressure . We always pry the door off or cut them off with a reciprocating saw . I was wondering if any does this and if you like it or not

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    We usually spread the hinges off, in fact, that's what we did just the other day on a fairly tough extrication where the whole door had to go. I know that we CAN cut hardened steel with our tool (an Amkus) but it might dullen them...
    --jay.

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    I also generally just keep prying till the hinges pop. But there are times where they won't come, and I've never had problem cutting them. I still tell students when I teach not to cut the Nadar Pins. Too time consuming, and its not all that great on the blades, if your gonna try to cut it, I'd just recommend prying the door away from it. That is why I generally pry from the hinge side first if I can.

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    Cutting works much better if you tool can handle it. How many times have you seen firefighters leaning into a door or trying to hold it to control the door when it "pops". Cutting will just free the door, it doesn't force the door down, up, out, or in. The door simply drops without the forrce of a tool behind it.
    We still spread doors for access, but to remove I like cutting much better.

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    We just replaced our 2-Hurst Omni tools and "O" Cutters, all 14 years old with the new Hurst "O" Cutters and Mavericks.

    We have used the "O" cutters to cut the hinges and it works great. You are now even able to cut steering columns and Nader bolts with the new Hurst "O" Cutters, but I still don't see any need for that.

    Many a time I can remember fighting with trying to pry at the hinge and now we make access and cut them, works great.
    These views/ opinions are my own and not those of my employer/ department.

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    Check with Hurst, I still think that the factory DOESN'T want you to cut hinges with their new cutter. I think they are still using cast blades on their cutter. But with the right tools, I like to expose the hinge/nader, and cut it out of my way. I think you have more control over the door if you cut it.

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    Just ordered a new Hurst Xtractor-S cutter last week. Had one for testing and the service man/sales rep actually recommended cutting the hinges with the new cutter. Reasons being that you have better control over the door when cutting the hinges over popping them. We do still use spreader on the latch side.

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    I most always do door removal by spreading the hinge side... starting with the top hinge. The door 99.9 percent of the time will nearly always peel off the hinges and move quite nicely away from the patient. With a properly cribbed/stabilized vehicle, vibration of the vehicle when spreading versus cutting is hardly noticeable. With hardened steel components in most hinge assemblies, it's too time consuming to cut. But there is always a time for every tactic.

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    Holmatro was through here last weekend on a road show and did a modern vehicle update course with a half dozen of us....

    We are currently using a set of 15 year old cutters that are up for replacement and were looking at the new generation cutters....
    We always spread at the hinges, pop the door then go to the nader pin....this guy took us through a "cut the hinges" evolution and I gotta say that I like it...There are restrictions in that our old cutters aren't to be used for this and even Holmatro doesn't recommend this on their small cutters...Their med and large cutters on the other hand could eat the door...With the large cutters you don't even need to expose the hinges, just put the mothers on the door and let rip....Vibration was minimal and door removal was FAST!

    I personally feel that by restricting yourself to one way of doing things eventually a scenario comes up that challenges you...If you don't like it because you like another way better, train with it every now and again anyway... and keep it in your back pocket for a rainy day... someday you may need to pull it out of the hat.

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    train with it every now and again anyway... and keep it in your back pocket for a rainy day
    There is no truer statement. Life always brings new challenges, so be ready and creative.

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    I am amazed not to hear one single person opposed to cutting case hardened components of a vehicle with hydraulic tools. I too have had to do it in extreme circumstances, but I am extremely weary of it and always caution those I am around to only do it as a last resort.

    Most tools on the market today will cut nader pins and hinges. This has come to pass because at some point, some tool company made the argument that their tool was better than some other tool because theirs would cut something that the others would not. So, the others had to allow this dangerous procedure to be done in order to "keep up with the Jone's."

    If you are in the practice of cutting things like nader pins, hinges and steering columns, you need to keep a few things in mind. Your hydraulic cutters (with the exception of the Champion tool design) is not a "cutter" but rather it is a metal shearer. It works with a scissor action to shear, or break, off what it is cutting through. This results in a transfer of energy once the metal is sheared, which we all notice as the "pop" or shift in the metal once it is cut. While this is not much of a problem when you have metal connected to metal while it is being cut, you can create a case hardened projectile when you cut through a piece of metal that is free at one end. The nader bolt is probably the part that give me the most concern. Of course it would be lodged into the door latch, or else you would not need to cut it. However, if you put 80K+ of hydraulic cutter force onto the nader pin, when the cut is made, the amount of force transferred to the free end could cause it to dislodge from the latch and come flying out like a bullet. Keep this in mind when you are cutting steering colums and steering wheel spokes as well.

    You also need to keep in mind that while the tools are now being designed to make such cuts, there is still the possibility of tool failure because of the massive amounts of pressue being applied to a small surface portion of the tool. I am sure there are many of us who have seen the tip of a cutter break off while trying to cut case hardened components. Even if the tool does not fail, take a look at your cutting surface to see if you have notched the blade with your efforts. If you have, you have now created a weak spot on the tools that you will need to keep an eye on.

    Again I will add, that there may be a time where this will be your best option to free a trapped patient. However, I recommend that you try all other options, such as reciprocating saws or trying another route of access, before you try to cut case hardened parts of the vehicle with hydraulic cutters.
    Last edited by MetalMedic; 07-25-2002 at 11:35 AM.
    Richard Nester
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    We use a Lukus Combie tool, so cutting things like nader pins is definitely not recommended and for the hinges, we usually pry the doors off. However, we also cut them with a sazall when we need to.

    As Metalmike pointed out, cutting hardend steel is always a tricky business. Just thinking outside a bit here, think of what happens when you have a pair of side cutters, and you are cutting a piece of wire, say coat hanger gauge. (I don't know the actual gauge of a coat hanger) Now try to take just a small section from the end. What happenes to the piece if it is not restrained? It flies off somewhere like a released spring. Hardened steel will do that too, but with greater fragmentation. Where is that shrapnel going? All over the place usually, mostly to places you don't really want it.

    I have actually chipped the tips off of two cutter blades (during a spreading operation), and when the let go, one piece actually pinged off my visor (it was down of course) but it left a score mark where it hit. This happened on the training ground, and near sunset, so there was a very pretty blue spark at the same time, when the tool slipped and snapped. I thought it had only slipped, until I finished the operation and noticed that I was missing about a 1/4 inch from each blade tip. Then I understood what happened. When the fragment chipped off my visor, I stopped to see what had happened, but the way that the bits came off the ends, it broke in the same pattern as the original tool end. Both ends were square, and of equal length, so I didn't see anything wrong until we were done and putting it all away. There was a lesson learned there too. When the tool slips enough to make a spark, check the tool tips carefully before carrying on. You may have just broken a key component of you tool.
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    We use Amkus gear, each truck carries cutter, spreader and a ram.
    Usually we will spread the lock side of the doors and if there is reasonable time spread the door off the hinges. One problem we have encountered doing this is there always seems to be a piece of jagged/ripped door skin left flapping on the hinge. It seems a lot quicker to cut the hinges off next to the "A" post that way everything gets taken off with the door. Never encountered a hinge snapping off and becoming airborne. (Yet). I prefer to cut the hinges, as it means you are not deforming the body of the vehicle anymore than you have to, with the pressure from the spreader lessening the risk of metalwork coming into contact with a casualty.
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    My department uses Amkus but I haven't tried with that yet.

    However, in June I took an Advanced Vehicle Extrication course at the CT Fire Academy. They had Hurst and Holmatro tools there for our use.

    We used the Holmatro cutters to cut just about anything you can find on a car, including the hinges and nader bolts. The cutters did cut everything we wanted them to cut. However, after we were done, the cutters were all dinged up from the hardened steel we were cutting.

    We were taking lots of pictures on the second day of the course. In hind sight, I wish I took pictures of the cutters after we were finished.
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    My understanding and training in the use of the Ho,matro cutters is that they can cut just about anything, except cast hinges.

    Our primary rescue truck runs the 3000 series Holmatro and we've had no problems cutting hinges, etc. We've never attempted to cut cast hinges, though, becasue Holmatro told us not too.

    Our back up rescue still runs the 1000 series Holmatro- we wouldn't even attempt to cut hinges using these cutters!
    Luke

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    It all comes down to training. Know what your tools are capable of, and use them that way. Just because someone else's tools can do it does not mean your can. Know your tools.

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    A Posting From Forum Moderator Ron Moore

    Food for thought if you are going to cut a door hinge with a hydraulic cutter.

    Regardless of what brand of tool you use, if the hinge design is the large 'C' shape, an efficient cutting procedure is to make two cuts on each hinge. Cut only the top leaf of the hinge first. You may have to insert the bottom blade into the center of the C-hinge to cut just the top leaf. Then open the blades and cut through just the bottom leaf.

    This two-step cutting for each hinge maximizes the chances that your cutter will perform the cuts as desired and minimizes the chances of damage to your tool.

    In this case, two cuts can actually be better than one.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

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    Originally posted by ADSN/WFLD
    How many times have you seen firefighters leaning into a door or trying to hold it to control the door when it "pops".
    Important point for all to consider: let the tool do the work. Do not try to lean into a door, to "stabilize" a door, or to fight with the tool to move in a direction it doesn't seem to want to move in.

    You are working against thousands of pounds of pressure and you will lose every time--and someone could get seriously injured. If you are popping a door, let the door go. It will not go flying off into outer space. And if it did, do you want to be in the way? Along these lines, I always laugh when I see people struggling with a tool trying to make it go against the path it is taking. Rather than fighting it, you should re-evaluate what you are doing and reposition.

    Once the tool "bites," the tool no longer needs to be supported. All you are controlling is stop and go. Regardless of the type of deadman control you have (toggle, twist grip, end-ring, etc.) you should be able to do this with a couple of fingers, not wrestling it around with both hands. You should only have to wrestle it to get it into a starting position, and then removing it when you are done. It can be done very gracefully by a skilled operator and looks more like an art than a science.

    Avoid placing yourself between the tool and the objective. Keep the controller in a position so that you aren't placed in a dangerous spot when operating it. If this means holding the tool upside down and/or backwards, then do it. And obviously you should never place any of yourself in the working part of the tool (jaws or blades).

    I'd much rather spread a hinge than cut it. Personal preference. But if your tool is capable of it, it is always an option. Don't limit yourself. Like Bones said, it all comes down to training and knowing your tools.
    Last edited by Resq14; 08-15-2002 at 12:35 AM.

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    What about side impact air bags and these old style techniques?
    Kristen, by old style techniques, are you referring to "popping" a door? If so, while that process has been around for longer than both of us, it is still in use today as it is a very viable option for patient access/removal.

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    Kristen, first of all, side impact air bags are only one of the hidden "joys" of vehicles these days. There are Knee Bags, Side Curtains, Door bags, seat bags, seat belt pretensioners, etc. In the near future (under testing) will be air bags in seat belts and whiplash protection systems (something about moving the headrest forward during a collision?). What do we do about all these fun items? Train and learn as much as we can. Your best bet is to hope that all these devices have activated, that leaves a little less concern. Most times, they will not all be deployed and that basically leaves a loaded weapon for the untrained rescuer. One of the first steps is to remove power from the car (battery, wherever it may be located). Another early step is look for identifications on the vehicle for what systems it has and expose them as much as possible. Can a door be popped if it has an undeployed door bag? Yup, you can usually pop a door from the hinge side without deploying the bag, but you always prepare for the worst. Protect patients/rescuers. There is a rule 5-10-20 with air bag systems. Keep everything 5" away from side impact bags, 10" away from steering wheels, 20" away from passenger bags.

    No one can safely work on cars with "half-assed" knowledge anymore. Extrication is an art that needs to be learned, practiced, trained on, and then keep on learning. Technology is changing in cars everyday and it is A LOT of work to keep current and safe. Follow these forums and you will see lots of good advice. Learn from them (I get something new almost every week) and try some stuff during drills.

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    Holy cow who fired up Bones????

    Hey Bones, nicely stated, but I sure hope that soap box you were preaching from was stabilized using some modern method and no "old style technique"

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    FFTrainer - I'm not fired up. Well, yes I am, but not at anyone here. I, unfortunately, am in a situation where too many members are under the belief where they learned extrication 15 years ago and think it's still the same thing. After all, a car is a car, it still has 4 wheels, an engine, and some doors. I am not faulting Kristen, in fact, it's nice to have her asking and trying to learn, but I see too many people that are under-educated doing these things and getting lucky. We offer training classes, 1 or 2 people show up, but when there is a call, 10-12 come out of the woodwork and act like experts. Thankfully, they get lucky and no one gets hurt, but I can only bet it's a matter of time.

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    Hey it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who has to put up with the "But we've always done it this way" bull#&^t. My response "hey that would be great if this were a 1970 Ford LTD but it's a 2002 Audi and the old way ain't gonna work - well at least not safely!"

    Stay safe!

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    Kristen,
    I wonder if the other members of your department, who choose not to train, ever evaluate how they would feel about an uneducated person extricating their son or daughter?
    That thought dosen't work in this situation, because, as you know, it'll never happen to them.
    Every once and a while you can break a dinosaur (respectfully stated) down. We had one who was told "if you have a 1970 Chevy you'll know what to do, but do the same on a 2002 Chevy you'll get hurt". As stated previously 100+ times "When I stop training, I'll be 6ft under". No statement could ever be more clear.
    A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

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    I think we have gotten off topic. Fact is cutting hinges CAN be done. Safely. It may depend on the vehicle or your tool. But it can be done. In many cases I feel it the best alternative. I do not like spreading the door off the hinges as it will often force the door into the ground and move the vehicle, thereby defeating the purpose of stabilizing.

    I have cut hundreds of hinges with our Amkus cutters and have never had a problem with projectiles or breaking the tool. I am not saying I have never had difficulties or had to move to another technique. That is part of extrication. You have to know your tools and their capabilities. If one way is not working, move on to another way. Dont break your tool because you wanted to keep trying. Every situation will be different. What works on a car on all fours may not with the same care on its side.
    THE ABOVE REFLECTS MY OPINIONS AND IN NO WAY REFLECTS THOSE OF MY DEPARTMENT.

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