Monday, December 27, 2010

Lakeside Firefighters Train for Entrapment Under Vehicles

Lake Jennings Fire Station: One of the most dreaded calls that firefighters respond to are those involving people trapped under vehicles. One might ponder how people get into this situation, but as more and more people conduct maintenance on their vehicles at home we see an increase in these types of incidents.

But these calls can result in some horrific injuries, not to mention a high probability of death. Our passenger vehicles range in weight from 2,500 pounds to a impressive 7,500 pounds in larger SUV's. When this type of weight is placed on the human body it quickly becomes a race against time to get the weight off of the victim.
Firefighter-Paramedic Bryan Peters works with a cribbing stack at a recent training exercise.
Lakeside Firefighters use a system of cribbing and pneumatic bags that are capable of lifting 60,000 pounds. This equipment is part of the inventory of Rescue 3 located at the Lake Jennings Fire Station. Crews regularly work with these tools under various simulations to maintain skills that are necessary for these types of rescues.

But working on vehicles is only part of the situations where these airbags are of beneficial use. Crews can use these tools in structural collapse, industrial rescues, vehicle extrication, right down to getting a child "unstuck" from playground equipment.

Recently these tool were used to assist in the rescue of a driver that was pinned in a water truck that had rolled down a hillside (link).

Fire Engineer Chris Downing monitors progress as crews work to free a simulated victim. If done incorrectly loads can fall on the rescuers.
Before working under your vehicle please observe some basic safety rules when using jacks:
  • Use only jacks that are maintained in good operating condition.

  • Place the jack securely on a dry, level, clean surface at right angles to the load.
  • Position the jack at the jack point recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Shift the vehicle with automatic transmission to park or to low gear, if it has a standard transmission, and apply the parking break.
  • Use chocks in front and back of the wheel that is on the diagonal from the wheel that will be raised (e.g., if jacking up the right, front wheel, use the chocks on the left, rear wheel).
  • Do not overload a jack beyond its capacity. All lifts must be vertical.
  • Do not position yourself where you could be pinned between the operating handle and the wall if the vehicle or jack moves accidentally.
  • If working alone, always arrange to have someone check on you at pre-arranged, regular intervals.
  • Place safety stands under the vehicle to support the vehicle if an employee must work under the vehicle.
  • Ensure that the safety stands are in good condition and positioned properly and that the correct support pins are used in adjustable axle stands.
  • Do not get under a vehicle that is supported by a jack only - always use suitable safety stands. 
Crews work on a simulated off-road incident where operations are more complex. Firefighter-Paramedic Chris Williams, Fire Engineer Chris Downing, and Firefighter-Paramedic Jose Corona observe the effectiveness of the airbags in lifting this vehicle.
Submitted By: Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

No comments:

Post a Comment