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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

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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Heavy Rescue

ALBERTA Advanced Heavy Rescue Symposium



Sept 22-23, 2017 Advanced Heavy Rescue Symposium at the CFD Training Academy registration forms ready to be sent out, email me if your interested. Only 60 spots available.



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No Laminated Side Glass in a 2017 Vehicle?

I 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 requiring laminated side glass in all 2017 vehicles. But how can a 2017 model vehicle have tempered



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!

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