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

    Default Slamming Cribbing

    Interesting question from a NJ Rescue Squad about using a sledge hammer to pound stepchock into position at a car crash.

    Original question-----
    I was recently reading your article in Firehouse magazine regarding vehicle stabilization weight loss, and it pretty much answered my age old question of should you deflate the tires or not. In fact, now whenever I tell someone that you should, I simply hand them your article and tell them to read up.

    I have one question for you regarding stabilization. In recent classes in the past year, some of my volunteers have been taught to turn the step cribbing upside down and insert it using sledge hammers. I was shocked to see this. When I asked them what they were doing they said ‘this is how we’re being taught now.’ I couldn’t imagine any form of stabilization involving the use of sledge hammers. If you could, please provide your thoughts on this and what the recommended form of stabilization is using step cribbing. Also, is the wood step cribbing ok, or should we upgrade to a plastic form of it? Like I said, the step cribbing we currently use is pretty old but still works fairly well.

    My Reply---

    Wood stepchocks are still OK; it's the original version and there's nothing wrong with it. If you wanted to, you could buy plastic but me personally, I stick with wood.

    I instruct rescuers to use the back-to-the-fender lift technique so long as they don't over do it and move the car too much. The idea is to get the car to sit on a layer of the cribbing solidly before you deflate the tires.

    Using a stepchock upside down is something I came up with but it seems that something from my original instructions on using an inverted stepchock has been lost in the translation into New Jersey-ease. I invert a step chock when the clearance between the object and the ground does not even allow the first layer or step of the chock to fit under the load. Turning the stepchock over simply gives you a long length wedge to work with. I don't recommend or endorse slamming cribbing in with any tool. Hand tight is the desire. Deflating tires is supposed to shift the load solidly onto the cribbing.
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Glen Rock, Pa


    Ron, this brings up the very topic that we have spoken about several times. "What is the standard for extrication training"? In my travels with Zmag I have seen many differant and sometimes unaccetable methods being taught to wide eyed newbies. Just this past summer I saw students who paid big bucks being taught by big name instructors from big name departments some very wrong and antique procedures. The tool suppliers who know the proper way to use their own products were told "Just stay over by the tents, If we need you we will call for you" ... Excuse me, but who would know more about proper tool use then the people that make them? We have standards for just about every facet of what we do except extrication. But basicly, new students are at the mercy of their instructor, if he is up to date and has done his homework and stayed current its a good thing. But we still have many dinosours wearing a helmet with an "instructor" crest on it. I have been in many states and many classrooms and many junk yards as a student, an assistant and as a tool supplier. Can't count the number of times that I had to bite my tongue. I have also visited several websites for "top notch" "big dollar" classes that have pictures of things that I would never dream of doing. Not only poor techniques, but unsafe actions that they actually photograph and post for all to see as the way it should be done. OK, off my soap box for now, no idea how to fix the problem, but it certainly does exist.


  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Nov 2003


    I couldn't agree with you more mike!

  4. #4
    FIGJAM lutan1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    I come from The Land Down Under!


    Next time some clown wants to use a hammer or another tool to slam cribbing into place, get them to sit inside the car and have someone do it them.

    they'll soon change their mind- the noise is ten fold louder in the vehicle. Add to that the shock and injuries from the accident and you've got a whole new ball game. It's time we as rescuers think more about the casualty and spend more time in training getting an ide of what it is we're really putting them through....

  5. #5
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    Oct 2000
    Northwest Ohio


    I've never understood people wanting to slam anything while doing extrication. Some people like to slam the spreaders tips into the vehicle to make a purchase point. There are others in the area I have seen use an axe to crease the roof if they are flapping it.....

  6. #6
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Pt. Beach, NJ


    Zmagrescue, in response to your question about standards, I can speak for NJ. It simply does not exist. There is no standard, there is no certification, there are no requirements to even instruct it. It's not part of the State's curriculum(sp?) in Firefighter 1 and it's a joke in EMT training. A long time ago, extrication was performed by FD's, then it was more common in EMS, now it has switched back to mostly FD's. Somewhere in all of that, standards and requirements got lost.

    As for tool suppliers, I know a couple good ones and a couple bad ones. One of my local dealers for a brand can tell me everything that I would ever want to know about the specs on the tools. He has never performed an actual extrication though. He can cut and spread like a champion, but has no knowledge of stabilization, glass removal, air bag hazards, etc. He sells the tools but does not use them. Not the guy I would want teaching. I know other dealers that are the exact opposite and are very good.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber BurnCMSFD's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    Wasilla, Alaska

    Default Slamming

    We all have our own opinions on certain aspects of this subject, and so do all the big names in Rescue. I am no name in Rescue but of course like all I have a opinion based on experience. We teach our guys that it is ok to tap the wedges in with another piece of cribbing, but not with any major force. Just enough to make it snug. I suppose a sledge would work if your just tapping them if you didn't have a piece of cribbing around, but wouldn't tell or teach anyone that.
    My opinion is that cribbing is overrated, however I do it, teach it and wont do a rescue without it, unless of a fire or other rapid intervention is needed. If we think about it, once the cribbing is in place and a C-Collar is put on for stabilizing the neck and or KED, what is our biggest issue about movement... could it possibly be the seat?? This moves when we sit in it, depending on the pt weight could be sunk in 4 inches or so. So how are we stabilizing the seat, oh this comes when we slide the back board under there rump while we are moving them in a vertical position maintaining C-spine, whether we have a KED on them or not there is going to be movement of some type hopefully controlled. So with that movement do you agree or disagree that that is where a injury is most likely to happen? The way I see it as soon as you have C-spine precautions on the pt or pts, cribbing is not going to do anymore or less for you as long as the pt is sitting on a bunch of springs.
    I for one do not believe in deflating the tires, if you cannot get it stable enough with box cribbing or some type of strut system it would seem to me that practice is needed. I have seen the 'back to fender' technique done and I find it hard to believe that Ron would incourage this (please no offense Ron), this is a excellant way to get a back strain or induce some type of damage to your own C-Spine, and I realize your only picking up a inch or two but I have seen guys in competition and when the adrenaline is flowing how high do you think it comes up, imagine on a scene?
    So overall cribbing is good at the beginning but once the pt is stabilized and they are sitting on springs all bets are off, just my opinion...enlighten me.
    Burn<br />LT/EMT/Inst />Central Mat-Su FD<br />Wasilla Alaska

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Dec 2003


    I admit I didn't read through all of the other posts, so someone might have already mentioned this, but isn't the whole point of stepchocks to INCREASE the surface area of the car that is in contact with the ground? I have never understood why some companies flip the chocks upside down (regardless of the way they are bashed in, which is another story). I suppose it increases the stability, but not in the way that their intended use does. What about the old fashioned way of lifting up on the car slightly and sliding the chock under and lowering the car. It has always worked for your bread and butter extrications...with the usual clearance etc.
    Last edited by nsideff; 12-17-2004 at 06:04 AM.

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