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Laminated Side Glass

NissanI was sent a message from a firefighter the other night asking about a 2017 vehicle that he found did not have side laminated windows? This firefighter was up-to-date on his knowledge about the FMVSS 226 occupant ejection mitigation and laminated side glass. However, the laminated glass is meant more as a supplement to side curtain airbags. The curtains will be made larger so that they cover more of the window opening, made more robust to remain inflated longer, and made to deploy in both side impacts and in rollovers. So that is one reason why a 2017 model vehicle have tempered and not laminated glass.  What is a another? Phase-in periods and credits, that’s how. Let me explain.

The FMVSS 226 phase-in period started on September 1, 2013 and ends September 1, 2017 when all automobiles manufactured must meet the new standard. So, the way vehicle models run, the 2018 models will start hitting dealer floors in the summer of 2017. That means some 2018 models may not meet the standard if those vehicles are made before to September 1, 2017. Confused yet? It gets worse!

Automakers can earn credits for vehicles that do not meet the standard starting with automobiles made from March 1, 2011 and ending at the conclusion of the phase-in, September 1, 2017. So what does that mean? If an automaker made enough vehicles ahead of the September 1, 2017 date, they could sell that number of vehicles into 2017, 2018, and maybe even into 2019 that do not meet the standard. Automakers may use this to extend product of a vehicle that they intend to stop selling or delay developing a new model that meets the standard.

The bottom line is look for larger curtain airbags that stay inflated longer supplemented with laminated or glazed glass. Hope that helps!

Mike Smith, Absolute Rescue's Editor in Chief, is a veteran of the fire/rescue service in Michigan, who also works in the automotive industry as a designer. Have an idea of suggestion for the site? Contact Mike here

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Motor City Monday Extrication Tip; Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Reinforcements

As vehicles change, our knowledge must continue to keep pace and expand our mental toolbox.  The extrication tool manufacters have kept pace with their cutters, spreaders, and rams to combact these strong steels. It’s our job to stay



Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Reinforcements

Like everything in life, vehicles are changing, well vehicles keep changing. World leaders are pushing green vehicles which will increase our interactions with electric vehicles.  First off, let’s look at the common acronyms of several common green and traditional vehicles.

  • BEV = Battery Electric Vehicle
  • PHEV = Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • HEV = Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • ICE = Internal Combustion Engine

Unlike BEV, PHEV, and HEV, the term ICE refers to the engine itself, rather than the type of car. Normal/traditional gasoline and diesel cars have internal combustion engines.

Electric Vehicles present several challenges to firefighters with battery fires leading the way.  The automakers are designing and engineering extremely strong protective cages around battery packs. We are no strangers finding boron, martensite, and press hardened steels in the pillars, roof rails, and fender wells.  However, in a BEV, the rocker panels and cross vehicle reinforcements will have boron and martensite steels to protect the battery pack from collisions that could comprise it.  In the images below, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E has this strong steel in the rocker panels and cross vehicle reinforcements.  The automakers can tie in the strong rocker panels into the front fender wells requiring us to make deep cuts during a dash lift or roll.

The image below shows the different testing vehicles are subjected to and a strong battery cage can not only protect the battery pack, but also the occupants of the vehicle.

As vehicles change, our knowledge must continue to keep pace and expand our mental toolbox.  The extrication tool manufacturers have kept pace with their cutters, spreaders, and rams to combat these strong steels. It’s our job to stay current where the automakers are using strong steel.

Images from several Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) 2021 Presentations.

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Motor City Monday Extrication Tip; Rear Seat Airbags

Just another interesting airbag to learn about.



Rear Seat Airbag Extrication Rescue

Rear Seat Airbag

Mercedes Benz is one of the world leaders in occupant safety in their vehicles and they added another interesting safety feature. The 2021 Mercedes S-Class offers rear passenger airbags that deploy from the back of the front seats. The airbag wraps around the occupant’s head with a tubular structure while the remaining bag inflates to catch and cushion.

The rear airbag is integrated in the front seat, left side: undeployed, right side: deployed

Fully equipped reclining rear seat: the beltbag (inflatable seatbelt) with pyrotechnical pretensioner, load limiter and illuminated seat belt buckle offers protection in many different crash situations; the rear airbag and the seat cushion bag supplement the seat belt in a severe frontal collision; the side airbag and windowbag can help to reduce the risk of injury in a severe side impact.


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Outside the Box Anchor



Outside the Box Anchor

In the pictures below a Paratech base plate is used with pickets as an anchor point on soil/grass.  The picket ratings currently used date back decades and are for loamy soil. A single picket is rated at 700 pounds, a two-picket system is 1400 pounds and a three-picket system is 2000 pounds. The angle is always the biggest issue as well as consistent depth and alignment.

A Paratech hinged 12″ Base plate W/Anchor Ring has eight (8) holes to accept 1” (2.5 cm) pickets. The built-in anchor ring absorbs more than 2 tons with a 4:1 safety factor. It is easy to use as a fixed point.

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