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Lifting Maze – DIY Rescue Drill Prop

A maze that firefighters have to maneuver so a ball gets from the starting point to the end. This provides an opportunity to put different tools in the hands of some firefighters.

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A couple weeks ago Andrew Brassard shared a prop idea that he made. Essentially, it is a maze that firefighters have to maneuver so a ball gets from the starting point to the end. Brass made his out of steel and Grant Light put one together with wood. I took the opportunity to put hand tools, a torch, and a welder in the hands of some firefighters.

Lifting-Cribbing-extrication-rescue-goshen-paul

The prop didn’t take long to make and was cheap to build since we used scrap steel.

Here are the rules I gave to the crews:

  • Use every lifting tool on your engine at least once. For us it included: pry bars, wedges, high-lift jack, bottle jack, airbags, spreaders, portapower.
  • No touching the prop with your hands
  • No banging the prop with a tool to get the ball to move
  • No blowing on the ball to get it to move (late rule add, but firefighters are innovative)
  • If you lift an inch, you crib an inch

The crews have been working around 40 minutes to move the ball through the maze. Some of the observations and teaching points from the training include:

  • Communications between the crew is essential. Sometimes two lifts at nearly simultaneous times were needed to prevent the ball from becoming trapped.
  • Teamwork is important.
  • The boss needs to have a vision for where the ball needs to go. Multiple ideas may work, but which one is fastest and safest?
  • Understand where your equipment is located on the rig and how it works. The spreaders may be fast, but the portapower or bottle jack may be better for precision lifts.

Techniques

West Metro Fire Rescue Vehicle Extrication

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West Metro Fire Rescue

West Metro Fire Rescue posted several pictures from a vehicle accident that required several rescue discipline to free a trapped occupant. Around 11:30pm on a Saturday night, firefighters with Engine 2, Tower 2, Engine 6, Medic 3, District 2 Chief and SAM 1 responded to a rollover crash on east bound 6th Avenue. The driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pinned, with one leg through the sunroof. The crews used high pressure airbags to lift the vehicle and stabilized it with struts to extricate the patient, who had serious injuries.

One benefit with struts that use anchor loops that move independently from the base plate is the ratchet strap anchor point will pull the base plate off the ground. This allows the base plate to remain flat on the surface especially when the strap anchor point on vehicle tightens up the angle on the tension buttress.

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Quick Tips

TECH TIP: Shorten the Strap

Often on side resting vehicles, once a strut is placed the fixed end of the ratchet strap is too long to tighten the strut.

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Ratchet Strap Handle

Often on side resting vehicles, once a strut is placed the fixed end of the ratchet strap is too long to tighten the strut. First off, if you are using a cluster hook set, use the smallest hook possible. Secondly, if possible use the hook on the fixed end of the ratchet strap. Finally, you can gain approximately 6 inches of space by folding the fixed end strap in half and attaching the hook on the handle as shown in the picture below.Rachet-Strap-Webbing-Handle-Side

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Heavy Rescue

Garbage Truck Weight; Wet and Dry

Have you considered how the weather can affect a vehicle extrication? Consider this, often, garbage is set outside homes the night before garbage pickup day. Now factor in some rain overnight or in the morning. That water adds addition

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Garbage Truck Weight

St. Johns Co. Fire/Rescue attaching cables to car to pull it out from under truck. Photo By Phillip Whitley

This post started after a conversation at the State Fire School in Bowling Green, Ohio. One reason I love to travel and instruct is picking up information myself. One station in the Heavy Rescue is the heavy lifting station.  Talking with some of the others instructors during a break they mentioned how much the weight of a garbage truck can vary, especially during wet weather.  With that, I wanted to learn a little more myself.

The continual starting and stopping of more than 130,000 garbage and recycling trucks on the road in the United States is a recipe for passenger vehicles to crash into.  How many times have you raced around one on a two lane roadway? Now lets think about heavy truck weights. Long-haul trucks can weigh 80,000 pounds.  However, the shorter wheelbase of garbage and recycling trucks results lower legal weight around 51,000 pounds with an empty weight about 33,000 pounds.

Have you considered how the weather can affect a vehicle extrication? Consider this, often, garbage is set outside homes the night before garbage pickup day.  Now factor in some rain overnight or in the morning.  That water adds addition weight to the garbage. What is the weather like that day? How about  Was the garbage sitting outside in the rain all day and night adding to the weight?

Wet Weight?

The weight of wet garbage is an important consideration for rescuers if the truck needs to be lifted to extricate the patient. Weight of Trash by Material Type (tons per cubic yard) is listed below:

Here’s an interesting article about garbage trucks hauling loads from transfer stations to the landfill. In the article, Haulers Routinely Overloaded Waste Authority Trucks May Be 20,000 Pounds Over Federal Road Limits, it states “Daily transfer station reports show between 40 percent and 80 percent of the trucks in randomly selected weeks the past year have left for the landfill over the legal limit of 80,000 pounds.” Throughout the United States, rescuers need to consider the weather of the previous couple days if they are faced with lifting a garbage truck off another vehicle.

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