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Stafford Vehicle Rescue Technician Course 2019

Checkout the pictures from the Vehicle Rescue Technician class in Stafford and Quantico. This 3-day course teaches advanced rescue techniques when dealing with heavy vehicles (large trucks, buses, etc.). It is based on utilizing heavy wrecker to re-position the heavy vehicle off the smaller vehicle to reduce extrication time to minutes.  Make sure you also follow the Big Vehicle Rescue Facebook page.

Pictures are from Big Vehicle Rescue, John E. Burruss, and Danielle Celii.

Rail Car

This training scenarios involved lifting a 17,500 gallon capacity rail tank car. The total weight of the car was in excess of 82,600 lbs.

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Military Truck Under-ride

A 23,000 lb military truck under-ride with the car inverted.

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In the video below, Instructor Brian Sanzo teaching a group of students how to control roll and large trash truck using a brush truck’s 9,000 lb winch and a pair of Grip Hoists.

Garbage Truck

A controlled roll was done to get the garbage truck gently placed back on its tires with minimal motion.

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Towing/Wrecker Equipment

One thing I like to use during training is a 50 ton rotator when available.  The best time to get to know your heavy wrecker or tow operator’s equipment and knowledge is during training.  In addition to adding another tool to our toolbox, when lifting heavy loads with equipment like Paratech’s Hydrafusion struts, a rotator can be a great redundant safety system on scene.  Get to know your local operator’s capabilities.

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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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Vehicle Stabilization

Vehicle crash into the trees

Vehicle into the trees can happen anywhere.




Swanzey, New Hampshire.

Check out this outside-of-the-box stabilization that the Swanzey Fire Department posted on their Facebook page.

Swanzey and Keene Fire units responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash into the trees. After the vehicle was stabilized with struts and straps, on occupant was extricated and transported.

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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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