Thread: Car Fire Victim

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    Lightbulb Car Fire Victim

    This is my very first post so bear with me. My department gets the occasional car fire and luckily we never had one with a victim trapped inside. I figure it is only a matter of time until we get a car fire with a trapped victim and wasn't sure how I would go about extinguishing it. If the engine compartment it completely involved and fire is just starting to come through the dash and there is an unconsious victim who is starting to be burned what would you do? I am concerned that spraying water into the passenger compartment might run the risk of taking off skin of the victim. Would a class A foam extinguisher be better for the passenger compartment while using a bumper jump line under the hood? Your ideas and experience are appreciated.

    Tapperman

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    i would pull two lines, and use foam on both....protect vic, and extinguish fire
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    Smile good question

    I have been to a number of vehicle fires and have yet to come across one where there was someone trapped inside but I figure any fire in the passenger compartment would take off the victims skin faster than water. I feel the priority would be to get the fire out asap. Our department has the requirement for a charged hoseline at any mva with trapped occupants. I feel this would be the most available and effective way to protect the occupant from fire. The chemical agents in foam and extinguishers could pose serious contamination problems for a burn victim through absorption as well.
    Thanks for the question it helpds to way the options for these types of calls before you have to deall with them for real.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefloor
    I have been to a number of vehicle fires and have yet to come across one where there was someone trapped inside but I figure any fire in the passenger compartment would take off the victims skin faster than water. I feel the priority would be to get the fire out asap. Our department has the requirement for a charged hoseline at any mva with trapped occupants. I feel this would be the most available and effective way to protect the occupant from fire. The chemical agents in foam and extinguishers could pose serious contamination problems for a burn victim through absorption as well.
    Thanks for the question it helpds to way the options for these types of calls before you have to deall with them for real.
    'helps' 'weigh'

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    Two lines (minimum)...The first line and the firefighter on it will be dedicated solely to protect the victim(s). If there is any fire in the passenger's compartment, a constant flow with a fog stream covering the victim(s). If the fire is contained to the engine compartment only, the first line can also be used for hydraulic ventilation of the passenger compartment to maintain breathable air for the victims. The second line will be dedicated for extinguishment.

    Whatever the trauma to the passengers is from the impact, the additional trauma of being burned far out weighs any injury being soaked with water may cause.

    We also ALWAYS pull, charge and man lines at any MVA with entrapment until the extrication of all patients is complete.




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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949
    Whatever the trauma to the passengers is from the impact, the additional trauma of being burned far out weighs any injury being soaked with water may cause.

    We also ALWAYS pull, charge and man lines at any MVA with entrapment until the extrication of all patients is complete.
    Ditto. The time it takes to get the hood open enough to extinguish the main body of fire will probably be a lot longer than it takes to burn through the firewall. Also, as 4949 mentioned, the hydrolic ventilation will keep the victim breathing air that is reletively fresh depending on which way the smoke is going.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Several years ago, one of the guys from my department exhibited the essence of heroism at a car fire with people trapped. The car was a small BMW 2 door with 3 guys in it. It struck a pole and caught fire, entrapping the front and rear passengers. Our ambulance crew arrived first (equipped with scba and other typical fire tools). With the efforts of bystanders and police assisting them, they were able to keep the fire at bay until the engine arrived. The rear passenger was motionless and in significant peril from the fire that was consuming the rear gas tank area. He had already succombed to his injuries from the initial crash. The front seat passenger was alive and struggling. Without missing a beat, the FF grabbed an SCBA and threw it on the hood of the car and placed the mask on the victim, allowing him to breathe while the smoke engulfed the car. Once the engine arrived they extinguished the fire quickly and extrication efforts began. The guy suffered trauma and burns but thanks to the efforts of our crew and many bystanders and cops, this man walked out of the hospital.

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    Thanks for all of the input. I know that fire would take skin off faster than water. The thing I was worried about is that once the skin is burned it would come off without much force. Maybe once the fire around the victim is out it would be good to cover the victim with a bunker coat and continue to use a fog pattern until extrication could be achieved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapperman
    Thanks for all of the input. I know that fire would take skin off faster than water. The thing I was worried about is that once the skin is burned it would come off without much force. Maybe once the fire around the victim is out it would be good to cover the victim with a bunker coat and continue to use a fog pattern until extrication could be achieved.
    If the fire is out, the fire is out.
    There still needs to be a manned, charged line at the ready during the (any) extrication until the victim is removed to safety. If there is no fire, there is no need to flow water. It will only make matters worse for the patient and the rescuers.

    I would NOT use a bunker coat to cover the patient for several reasons...
    It will contaminate the coat and require decon before it can be placed back into service. It will also contaminate any wounds and/or burns the patient has.
    Use a sterile burn sheet to cover the patient...Head to toe if possible. That will be their best protection.

    BTW, any skin that has already begun to slough off the patient is going to be removed when the burns are treated in the hospital. It cannot be saved and re grafted to the patient, so don't be as concerned about the loss of skin, as you are about keeping the burns as sterile as possible.




    Kevin

    (edit) BTW, burn victims can become critically hypothermic very rapidly...Bear that in mind as well when treating.
    Last edited by fireman4949; 04-03-2006 at 10:52 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949
    BTW, burn victims can become critically hypothermic very rapidly...Bear that in mind as well when treating.

    Good point, it didn't initially cross my mind.

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