The Pickup Truck "Autopsy"

Ronald E. Moore outlines the unique rescue challenges presented by pickup trucks.


The purpose of this two-part article is to provide you, your rescue personnel and your department training officer with an increased awareness of the unique rescue challenges presented by pickup trucks. Pickups have features and equipment that differ from what we are used to with typical...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

The purpose of this two-part article is to provide you, your rescue personnel and your department training officer with an increased awareness of the unique rescue challenges presented by pickup trucks. Pickups have features and equipment that differ from what we are used to with typical automobiles. In this "University of Extrication" feature presentation, step-by-step procedures are detailed so departments may conduct effective hands-on training with acquired pickup trucks. If a pickup can be obtained for training purposes, this extrication information will allow crews to maximize their hands-on skills training.

6_98_pickup1.jpg
Photo by Ron Moore
The higher ground clearance of full-size pickups may require that step chocks be placed on cribbing. Note effective placement on the frame rails.


6_98_pickup2.jpg
Photo by Ron Moore
Tires that are 17 inches or more in diameter should be chocked with actual wheel chocks designed for such applications.

Pickups have become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, of the nearly 15.2 million vehicles purchased in the United States in 1997, four of the top 10 most popular were pickups. Ford Motor Co.'s F-Series pickup, with sales of 746,111 vehicles in 1997, has remained the best-selling vehicle in America for the past 16 consecutive years. Ford averaged selling one F-Series pickup every 40 seconds of every single day throughout the entire year.

The second-best-selling vehicle in America in 1997 was also a pickup truck, the Chevy C/K model. The seventh-most-popular vehicle sold in the U.S. was the Dodge Ram. Holding down 10th position was the Ford Ranger pickup. Totaled together, these four pickup models sold almost 2 million models in the United States in 1997.

This article is illustrated with color photos depicting rescue evolutions performed on 1998 model year GMC Silverado Z/71 pickup trucks. Each truck was equipped with all standard equipment and had the extended-cab feature complete with a passenger's side third-door option. The vehicles were donated for this specific educational purpose by General Motors.

6_98_pickup3.jpg
Photo by Ron Moore
The Hood Tool is inserted into the grill of the truck. The prongs or forks of the tool straddle the release cable.


6_98_pickup4.jpg
Photo by Ron Moore
The Hood Tool is rotated to twist the release cable, causing the hood latch to open.

A complete hands-on training video program of all extrication procedures performed on these vehicles is available from American Heat Video Production, based in Dallas. The two-lesson video program is organized into several segments and comes complete with written training materials. American Heat can be contacted at 800-845-2443. The pickup truck rescue programs are number 732-0050 and number 732-0112.

Pickup Truck "Autopsy" Checklist

The basic philosophy of a pickup truck hands-on training session is to systematically perform as many rescue assignments on this one vehicle as possible. Upon the conclusion of the training, you'll find there won't be much of the truck left. Participants will have accomplished most tasks that can be expected to be needed at an actual crash scene.

To begin the rescue training, our first objective is to explore various vehicle stabilization and hazard control procedures.

TASK A: Stabilize truck on level surface, resting on four wheels.

Our first assignment requires chocking and blocking. Try to get the cribbing deep under the sides of the truck, contacting the full frame rails of the chassis. Crews will suddenly realize that the typical pickup truck sits higher off the ground than an automobile. Normal-height step chocks may not be tall enough to stabilize the truck. Additional cribbing is generally necessary.

Utilize large wheel chocks similar to those used on fire apparatus to prevent rolling of the truck. Pickups typically have larger 17-inch diameter tires. The truck can actually roll right over a small two-by-four-inch block of wood placed in front or behind the tires. Just think, what if you had to stabilize Bigfoot at a monster truck rally?

This content continues onto the next page...