1. #1
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    Default Air Bag Deployment During Extrication

    Over the past few years, people have asked me, "Other than the Dayton incident, have any air bags deployed during extrication". I had not, that is, until a Firefighter/Paramedic that I work with described his first hand account of an air bag deployment during an extrication in Kittitas County, Washington in the fall of 2001.

    He responded as part of a third service ALS unit, along with the local volunteer fire department to a reported truck vs. tree. Upon arrival they discovered a late 90's Ford Ranger regular cab pick up, which had impacted a tree head on, at an estimated impact speed of 50-mph.

    The sole occupant, an approximately 300-pound male, sustained open bilateral femur and tib-fib fractures. He also was treated for head lacerations and possible rib fractures.

    Apparently unrestrained, the driver went up and over the steering wheel and impacted the windshield as the driver side air bag deployed. He then settled down into the seat where he was contacted by fire and ems.

    Damage to the vehicle was major front-end damage with most of it on the driver's side, along with a bent steering wheel.

    The initial extrication plan was to take off the driver's door and then remove him via long board. Due to the resting incline of the vehicle (with driver's side resting up hill), it was determined that this option would make extricating the heavy patient difficult. The second option was to take him out the passenger door. This plan however, would necessitate the removal of the center console.

    Supposedly, the responders disconnected the battery or cut the battery cables, though this is not confirmed. While some of the responders were taking off the driver's door, another responder went over to the passenger side and was attempting to manipulate or remove the center console using a screwdriver and crowbar. During this process, he moved a heart monitor and oxygen cylinder from the passenger side floorboard to the passenger seat. This responder then left the Ranger to get additional tools. He was away from the vehicle for less than a minute, when the passenger air bag suddenly deployed. Fortunately, no one was in the path of the deployment and nobody was injured.

    Depending upon the year of the Ford Ranger, the air bag control module can be located in the driver's side kick panel, center console or the passenger side kick panel. The Holmatro resource guide would of help in identifying the location.

    Some questions that I was asking myself about this extrication and vehicle:
    1. Was the electrical system shut down?
    2. Depending upon the location of the air bag control module did the manipulation of the center console lead to the deployment or did the removal of the driver's door lead to the deployment?
    3. Did the heart monitor emit electrical energy, thus causing deployment?
    4. Did this Ranger have an on/off key for the passenger side air bag? Was it on or off?
    5. Did the Ranger's supplement restraint system have the newer technology, which senses when weight is on the seats? If so, did the ems equipment on the seat have sufficient weight to make the passenger air bag "live"?

    Information like this is invaluable, and I thank the friend that shared this incident with me.

    Stay safe, and remember, the day you stop learning, is the day you should retire.

  2. #2
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    Good Post....

  3. #3
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    I could be wrong but I believe the key to shut off a passenger side airbag in a truck is mandatory so I would think it would have had one.
    I wouold also believe that since teh airbag did deploy the key was in the on position.

    I don't think it would have had any sensors in the seat and even if it did the airbag should not have deployed that long after impact.

    As for the reason it deployed I don't know. If the battery had been cut the capacitor may have not bled down completly.

    If you find out anymore let us know.

    Again I could be wrong, its been known to happen.
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  4. #4
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    1. Was the electrical system shut down?
    It is possible it was, but could this vehicle have a cpapcitor that holds a charge? (I'm not familiar with the vehicle...)


    2. Depending upon the location of the air bag control module did the manipulation of the center console lead to the deployment or did the removal of the driver's door lead to the deployment?
    I was under the impression that one of the contributing factors to the Dayton incident was the damage done to the sensor module (Or similar component) which was located in/under the middle console. Once again, not being familiar with the vehicle, it sounds to me that this may have contributed.


    3. Did the heart monitor emit electrical energy, thus causing deployment?
    Sounds unlikely- anyone else heard of a similar thing? If this is the case, I would have thought that monitor would have casued interferance with a lot of other devices before this incident.


    4. Did this Ranger have an on/off key for the passenger side air bag? Was it on or off?
    We're not allowed to have these switches fitted to our vehicles here in Oz, so I don't know a great deal about them, but it sounds unlikely doesn't it?


    5. Did the Ranger's supplement restraint system have the newer technology, which senses when weight is on the seats? If so, did the ems equipment on the seat have sufficient weight to make the passenger air bag "live"?
    That's a plausible answer! Does anyone know what weight is required for these sensors to operate?

    and remember, the day you stop learning, is the day you should retire.
    You only stop learning when you die!!
    Luke

  5. #5
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    I have a "03" Suburban. It has a weight sensor,according to the manual it is activated at 40 lbs.
    There is a small read out in the corner of the rearview mirror
    that tells you when it is on. One of these days I'll give it a
    weight test, for accuracy.
    Work Hard
    Stay Safe
    EFFD131

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