1. #1
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    rmoore's Avatar
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    Dec 1998
    Plano, Texas

    Default Pre-T Deployment in My Hands!

    A Posting from Forum Moderator Ron Moore

    Cautionary note to all rescue personnel! Received the following message from a vehicle rescue instructor (Captain) from California. Incident occurred 30 October.

    "I am writing to inform you of an incident I encountered while delivering a training session at the Fire Academy. I took a piece of information from one of your articles and have used it during many of my training classes. In the article entitled Pre-Tensioner
    Systems: Design and Function- September 1999, in the seventh paragraph you wrote "you will know that the seatbelt pretensioners have deployed when you arrive at a crash and see deployed frontal bags".

    I want to inform you that I found out this wasn't the case yesterday. During my training session the frontal bags of the 2001 Jetta were deployed. I carefully cut out the base of the B-post and was showing the students the retractor spool mechanism when I set the piston tube gently on the rocker channel and it discharged.

    They are right, it does sound like a 12-gauge shotgun. It was a good thing I wasn't holding the cable. Anyway, could you please help forward this information as it may save a fellow rescuer from potential injury. Thank you for your great work. I love to read your extrication articles."

    My Reply:
    My VW and Audi information (they use the same systems) indicates that the '01 pretensioners are "slaved" to the front airbag deployment circuits. In other words, if either or both of the frontal airbags deploy, both pretensioners should have fired. You're living proof that these systems don't always work as designed. I'm glad you were clear of the system when it fired. I suspect static electricity was the culprit. Shows you how sensitive the pyrotechnic charges are.

    Solution for responders, 1) unbuckle the patient's seatbelt before extrication work begins. 2) Also, reinforces why we recommend stripping the trim to try to avoid these systems in the first place.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  2. #2
    lutan1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    I come from The Land Down Under!


    OW! Lot's of potential for something to go horribly wrong!

    I was actually the operator of our shears at an MVA about 2 years ago and we are absolutely certain that I cut straight through retractor spool as described by the Captain, with the Holmatro shears.

    An extremely loud hiss and bang ensued and scared the pants off a few of us! Never done it since, that's for sure!

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