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Vehicle Extrication

IIHS Small Overlap Impact Test (2015 F-150)




IIHS Small Overlap Impact Test

The news in the auto industry today is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) test of the 2015 Ford F150 that has an aluminum body structure.  The test results are mixed.  The four-door Super Crew version is only full-size truck on the market with the institute’s “Top Safety Pick” rating.  However, the Super Cab version did poorly in a small front overlap test.  How is that possible? First off, consider the Super Cab version has an integrated b-pillar with the rear door.  The rear doors are hinged from the – C-pillar – rear of the body structure.  Based off what we learned over the last few years is the b-pillars got stronger and the ring around the driver door is strong.  The Super Cab version is latched at the b-pillar, top and bottom.  The picture below highlights how the Super Cab rear door is latched.  But could that be the reason?


The four-door Super Crew version has several frame reinforcements that the IIHS believes helped that version preform better than the Super Cab version.   The reinforcements are in the pictures below.

Keep in mind that the 2015 Ford F-150 is the first full-size truck to be tested with the IIHS Small Overlap Impact. The Institute picked the F-150 to test first because it is not only the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. but also the first mass-market vehicle with an all-aluminum body. I would guess that other full-size trucks could struggle with the Small Overlap Impact on their super cab versions. The complete IIHS recap of the test is in the video below.

Lastly, rescuers should always pay attention the IIHS tests when researching vehicles for training or teaching.  The IIHS post crash pictures provide great insight into possible dash entrapment among the occupants while giving a great picture to ask the what if questions!  Take a look at the pictures below from the IIHS’ website.


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

Heavy Rescue

VA Spring Rescue Week



I ran across some great pictures on the Big Vehicle Rescue Facebook Page from a training course. The 2019 Virginia Department of Fire Programs Spring Rescue Week was held at the VA Public Safety Training Center. Below are pictures from the vehicle rescue technician class. Thanks again to
John Burruss for allowing us to use his pictures. Make sure you follow his page!

Stabilization, Lifting, and Vehicle Relocation

The bus was captured with struts for stabilization. The black guard rails on school buses are strong points for struts tips for stabilization and lifting.

The bus was rolled off the car with two griphoists anchored to the duals on a semi-tractor while the Paratech gold struts chased the movement automatically with air extended the struts.

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Vehicle Extrication

Power Pole Stabilization

Here is a look at a unique extrication and stabilization that took place in Seattle, Washington.



Here is a look at a unique extrication and stabilization that took place in Seattle, Washington. The first Facebook post is video from an area camera that captured the power pole falling on the vehicle.

Per the Seattle Fire Department’s Facebook page:

Seattle Fire’s Rescue 1 was called to a multi-company extrication with Boeing, South King, and Tukwila Fire. Over fifteen power lines were down and 1 patient trapped in a car. Using Rescue 1’s hydraulic-fusion struts, the only of their kind in the area, 1 patient was safely extricated and a total of 2 patients were transported with minor injuries to nearby hospitals.

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School Bus

HydroFusion Ram

HydraFusion Struts used as ram for a dash roll?



HydraFusion Strut Ram

The HydraFusion Struts were a game changer when PARATECH released the lifting/stabilizing device a few years back at FDIC. Rescuers can lift up to 10 U.S. Tons (9 metric tons) and to stabilize up to 20,000 lbs. with the tool. However, PARATECH’s HydraFusion Struts are not limited to just those two functions. The HydraFusion Struts can move metal!

I first ran across pictures of HydraFusion Struts used as ram from pictures that Brock Archer (Advanced Extrication) and Randy Schmitz ( Founder/Owner of Schmitz Mittz). Last weekend at Crunchtime Extrication, Paratech had one of their trailers at the training event and I had the chance to try a dash roll with a HydraFusion Strut. Take a look at the video below.

A few quick points:

  • You can put the HydraFusion Strut in place to reduce any dash movement during reliefs cuts.
  • HydraFusion Strut are portable and can be moved quickly to a vehicle hundreds of feet of the roadway.
  • Depending on the length of the HydraFusion Strut used, strut extensions can be used to optimize dash movement.
  • Using a HydraFusion Strut as a ram is an option, not always the option.
Below  are a few pictures from the Advanced Heavy Rescue Symposium in Calgary, Alberta, that show HydraFusion Struts used a ram during bus extrication to displace a roof.

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