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Trench Rescue

Here is an interesting look from several different views of a successful trench rescue back in April of 2016. The rescue took place by Orange County’s Fire Authority in Tustin, California.  Below are several videos of the rescue.  The lessons learned video provides a great resource for every fire department regardless if your department can handle a trench recuse or you rely regional or county tech recuse team.

The first video is from a Youtuber GregFromTheOC.  The first 30 seconds of the video provides a brief description of the incident. The first six minutes is audio only of radio traffic with dead airtime removed. The Stokes basket is lowered at the 18 minute mark and is back with the victim at the surface at the video’s 20 minute mark.


News video

Lessons Learned

Battalion 3 Chief Jeff Hoey reviews the lessons learns and presents scenarios based on this complicated trench rescue.


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

Quick Tips

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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