1. #51
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    25 NW of the GW


    From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...this information. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/outr...rocedures.html

    Deployed air bags are not dangerous. They are not very hot or about to catch fire. Air bags deploy one time only and pose no danger after deployment.

    If an air bag has deployed, it will be drooping from the steering wheel, the dashboard, or the side of the driver or passenger seat. Rescue personnel who arrive immediately after air bag deployment will see smoke and powder inside the vehicle. The smoke is produced by the combustion of sodium azide and other chemicals within the inflator module.

    The powder, usually corn starch or talcum powder, is used to ensure smooth deployment of the air bag by preventing it from sticking together while it is stored within the module. Also mixed with the residual powder is a small amount of sodium hydroxide, a by-product of the combustion that takes place in the inflator module. Alone, this chemical is slightly alkaline and may cause skin and eye irritation.

    Some additional discomfort may be experienced if the powder gets into a cut or onto burned skin. Body parts exposed to the powder should be washed with soap and water.

    The actual combustion process is contained within the inflator module and lasts for less than 1/10 of a second. The same gloves and eye protection that shield rescue personnel from sharp edges, glass, and body fluids also protect them from sodium hydroxide in the powder.

    Although it is rare, an air bag can suddenly deploy during rescue operations, creating a hazardous operating condition, causing further injury, and delaying medical assistance to victims. While every crash poses unique conditions, there are some procedures that will help minimize risks.

    Identify the presence of undeployed air bags. Look for the words, Supplemental Inflatable Restraint or Air Bag, or the initials, SIR, SRS, or SIPS, printed on the steering wheel hub, instrument panel, dashboard, windshield, or sun visor to determine whether the vehicle is equipped with air bags. Vehicles equipped with side air bags may have these words or initials over the driver side B pillar or on the outboard side or back of the seat.

    If you still cannot tell whether the vehicle has air bags, you should assume it has them, especially if the vehicle is a newer model.

    Disconnect the power to the air bag system. Turn off the engine and disconnect or cut both battery cables. Disconnect the negative cable first, followed by the positive. Make certain that the cables do not return or “spring back” to their original placement on the battery. Note: Move seats with occupants away from the front air bags before disconnecting the battery in case the front seats are powered.

    Should circumstances permit, disconnect or cut the negative battery cable near the engine block. During any disconnect, an arc will be created because there is always a current draw on the battery even when the ignition key is turned off. The battery will go through discharge and will generate some flammable hydrogen gas around the battery area. Keep the arc away from the battery to help prevent the gas from being ignited.

    In a severe crash, make certain the battery case has not been penetrated with metal body parts that could re-connect the electrical circuit. Battery disconnect can often be verified by attempting to turn on the headlights and taillights. However, be aware that the impact of the crash may trip a circuit breaker or blow a fuse, causing the lights not to work.

    Even after a battery disconnect, it is possible that static electricity can deploy the air bag. Static electricity can be generated by the use of hydraulic shears and rams, rescue personnel sliding across the seat, and the cutting of safety belts. After a crash, it is not possible to determine how much static electricity is present around the vehicle and specifically what wires individuals and extrication equipment may contact. Also, the use of rams and the prying open of body parts can trigger the deployment of mechanically-activated side air bags. This is why it is always best to treat air bag systems as if they were “live.”

    If time permits, wait until the air bag system is deactivated. Check the Air Bag Deactivation Times chart (this can be found on the Internet at www.nhtsa.dot.gov) to find out how long it takes for the backup system to completely deactivate. Some vehicles may take up to 30 minutes to deactivate, but most vehicles take 1 minute or less. While this will significantly lower the chance of accidental deployment, it does not make it 100 percent safe.

    More importantly, rescue personnel must consider the need to reach and extricate victims as soon as possible and to reach medical care within the “golden hour” in order to provide the best chance for victims’ survival and recovery.

    When possible, extrication preparation efforts should be performed from the side of the occupants, through the roof, and away from the potential deployment path of the air bags.

    Avoid placing yourself or equipment between an undeployed air bag and the occupant.

    Move seats with occupants away from frontal air bags and lower the seat back if it is appropriate for the victim and type of injuries. When possible, tilt the steering wheel to provide additional clearance. This should be done before disconnecting the battery in case the front seats are powered.

    Do not drill or cut into the air bag module or apply heat above 350 °F in the area of the steering wheel, dashboard, or side seat panel.

    Do not mechanically displace or cut through the steering column until the battery has been disconnected and all other rescue techniques have been performed and exhausted. On most air bag systems cutting through the steering column should not cause the air bag to deploy. However, some mechanical systems with the sensor built into the back of the air bag module are sensitive to sudden movement. Painstaking care should be exercised to provide a smooth, continuous movement while using hydraulic rams and other displacement tools to move or cut the steering column. Be certain to have as much clearance as possible between the victim and the undeployed air bag before moving or cutting the steering column. Even after these procedures are followed, emergency personnel should treat every undeployed air bag as if it were “live.”
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  2. #52
    FlyingKiwi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    New Zealand


    The disconnection of the negative lead will cause a much shorter and cooler arc and lessen the chance of igniting any vapors.
    That right there is the fact.

    My def-e-nition of a fact is the shortest point between two known truths.

    And that puppy is a fact.

    Here is a consideration to the argument. Most on board computers will retain information for a period of time afer power is cut.

    Most MVA's DO NOT require the battery (or batteries) to be cut, where it does is when fuel vapors are detected, or the entaglement will threaten victim and or rescue crewing their operations.

    If extrication will not jepadise (freeking eck, you want me ta spell good too) the rescue, crew, or victim, leave it intact to assist the LEO's in their part f our job.

    If you do cut, cut a good section out of one, and a better section out of the other lead.

    Takes only a second longer but it "sure as 'eck gets em both".

    Two options beats one. every time.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  3. #53
    Forum Member
    firenresq77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Northwest Ohio


    NJ........... I hope that is an old article........ It has some bad info in it.........

    Air bags deploy one time only and pose no danger after deployment.
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........

  4. #54
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Essex Junction, VT


    Quote Originally Posted by LACAPT
    Our SOP calls for removal of the Negative post first, then the positve. we never except in extreme situations cut the cables. You never know when you may need power back on, for instance if power seat has to be moved back, or forward. Its just easier if you keep it simple everytime. Having said that we had a wierd one happen to us a few weeks back, 2 vehicle MVC head on @ about 35-50 kmh, average amount of damage nothing unfixable. FF removes the neg cable first, goes about removale of pos. cable, wrench grounds out against frame, car starts up!!! Holy batcrap, suprised the h out of everyone. Turns out the battery was punctured underneath out of site and was grounded. Still cant figure out why the car started, keys were on the front seat out of ignition, put keys back in ignition, turned ignition to start and then turned ignition to off, car shut off. A mystery! Life went on.
    I think I might have an idea about that one. With some newer cars they have smart chips located in the keys. You get the key within roughly 16 feet of the vehicle and it preps the car for ignition. It sets up the electronics, brings it all online, etc etc. So our old habit of taking the keys out of the ignition and leaving them in the car no longer works on some vehicles.

    So in this case, that car might have been one of these and all it needed was that extra bit of oompf from the battery to kickstart the ignition. Dunno, but I guess it could happen.
    Fir Na Tine
    Fir Na Au Saol

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