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Motor City Monday Extrication Tip; Key Fobs

The ignition key is used without a second thought everyday by billions of people.  However, the ignition key as several safety features built into every vehicle that are taken for granted. Most extrication minded responders think about crash test standards when the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) are mentioned during training or in an article. However, FMVSS impact every part of a vehicle designed for the roadway of the United States. extrication-key-fob-keyless

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 114 covers theft protection and roll-away prevention.  This standard requires that an automatic transmission vehicle must be placed in the “park” position before the key can be removed from the ignition.  This prevents vehicles from accidentally being left in “drive” and rolling after the driver exits. The other provision requires that a vehicle cannot be operated after the key is removed from the starting system.

touch-screen-Rescue-extrication-key-fob-keylessDrivers of vehicles with start/stop buttons key-less ignition with an electric key fob can unknowingly bypass the rollaway prevention features. The key fob is operable without ever leaving the pocket or purse which means the vehicle will run and can be left in drive with the key fob removed.  The vehicle can run indefinitely with the key fob out of the transmittal range and it will continue to run until the fuel is depleted or the engine is shut down.  Most vehicles with this type of key fob will give an audible alarm and visual message on the instrument panel.  Yet this warning could be overlooked.

While FMVSS 114 mandated several roll-away prevention features, vehicles with key-less ignition can be shutdown with the transmission in drive and the key fob removed.  At first look, responders my not notice the vehicle is in park, especially if the 12 volt battery is secured quickly at an accident scene.  The take away? Unless the vehicle is in “park”, it is susceptible to unintended rolling.  Unintended rolling is a possibility until the vehicle is stabilized and secured.

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

Overturned Tractor-Trailer Extrication

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Overturned Tractor-Trailer Extrication

Check out the overturned Tractor-Trailer, confirmed entrapment, and power pole down that Elizabethtown Fire Dept Station 74 had earlier today.

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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

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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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Heavy Rescue

Dump truck rolled onto a car

The dump truck attempted to change lanes, struck the passenger car, the load inside the rear of the dump truck shifted, causing the vehicle to list to one side and roll onto the driver’s side roof of the vehicle.

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Manheim Township, PA

First off, both drivers required extrication from their vehicles and were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The dump truck attempted to change lanes, struck the passenger car, the load inside the rear of the dump truck shifted, causing the vehicle to list to one side and roll onto the driver’s side roof of the vehicle.

Stabilization and Extrication

Towing and Recovery

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