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  1. #1
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Thought this was an interesting article

    http://news.aol.com/story/_a/sturdie...00010000000001


    Excerpt:
    Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    TAMPA, Fla. (March 19) - Capt. Clint Roberts makes his living cutting accident victims out of hideously mangled vehicles, but even he could hardly believe it when two people in a 2007 midsize car survived a head-on crash with a full-sized pickup last year.

    The Ford Fusion's reinforced steel construction probably saved the lives of the 18-year-old driver and his 16-year-old passenger. But Roberts said it gave his Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crew fits as they tried to free them last November.

    Because hydraulic cutters couldn't shear the roof posts, rescue workers had to turn to heavy-duty electric saws, replacing blade after blade as they dulled on the rugged material.

    "It was just beating the snot out of the tools," adding minutes and delaying medical treatment, Roberts said.

    There is no question that today's cars save lives by cocooning motorists in reinforced alloys, impact-absorbing crumple zones and as many as a dozen air bags.
    But in interviews with The Associated Press, rescue officials and experts from around the United States said the new technology is also hindering extrication of injured people, increasingly forcing crews to work deeper into the critical "golden hour" between accident and treatment by emergency room doctors. On many 2005 and later cars, an extrication that once took 10 or 15 minutes can now take twice that or longer.

    To catch up, counties and cities are spending tens of thousands of dollars — if they can afford it — to buy more powerful equipment that can cut through newer cars' reinforced steel and the lighter, tougher exotic metals used in roofs, posts and doors.

    Experts cannot say for certain whether the delays in getting these victims to the hospital have resulted in people dying. But that's the fear.

    "We build more fire stations, we make faster fire trucks, we've got helicopters to get you to the hospital," said Roberts, an expert who teaches extrication to colleagues around Florida. "But what's slowing us down are these vehicles that are harder for us to get into."

    "The fatality rate for passenger vehicles is the lowest in history," Tyson said. "That, to me, is a pretty good news story."
    Last edited by Jeanum; 03-20-2008 at 01:23 PM.
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  3. #2
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by lodonal65 View Post
    Experts cannot say for certain whether the delays in getting these victims to the hospital have resulted in people dying. But that's the fear.

    "The fatality rate for passenger vehicles is the lowest in history," Tyson said. "That, to me, is a pretty good news story."
    Um, yeah -- is it better to have no chance of surival or some chance? Better to spend $ on life-saving equipment than on items intended to take lives, IMO
    Last edited by Victorious4; 03-20-2008 at 10:58 AM.
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  4. #3
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    The oldered cars have always been harder to cut up than newer cars, from my experience. But even with the older cars, when you think the jaws have stalled out, you just keep pushing the button, it will cycle again, and start cutting. I have cut apart cars from 70's to the 90's. It freaked me out when I did an MPV, it was like going through butter. I had another, an older one that was kicking my butt. I was trying to take the drivers door off. I was to the bight of the door, stupid place to be. I got the door of, ever though no one thought I could, but I was thrown into the fender. I got a nice big bruise from that!

  5. #4
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    to echo papooses' comment, geesh!

    "But what's slowing us down are these vehicles that are harder for us to get into."
    the undertone of the article seems to be that we should go back to less safe cars so that the emergency crews can be heroes and save near-death people rather than have safer cars prevent people from getting into near-death situations in the first place .

    another thing that the article didn't mention is that rescure crews also have to be more careful *where* they cut into the cars. side curtain airbags are inside of the roof rails, and cutting into the roof can cause them to deploy (if they hadn't already from the accident).
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  6. #5
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    to echo papooses' comment, geesh!



    the undertone of the article seems to be that we should go back to less safe cars so that the emergency crews can be heroes and save near-death people rather than have safer cars prevent people from getting into near-death situations in the first place .

    another thing that the article didn't mention is that rescure crews also have to be more careful *where* they cut into the cars. side curtain airbags are inside of the roof rails, and cutting into the roof can cause them to deploy (if they hadn't already from the accident).


    We aren't TRYING to be "heroes", we are trying to get people out of cars in the "golden hour." It is a huge problem in the fire service right now. We don't want to go back to less safe cars, but we MUST have a way to get victims out. Yes, overall the newer cars are saving lives, but there are still accidents where people are seriously injured, and we are still expected to get them out in a timely matter and some of the new cars do prevent that. I was on an accient last week on a 2007 Subaru and it took us over an hour to free them with extrication. Can you imagine being that person in pain and seriously injured and having to wait an hour for us to cut you out????? Or being that firefighter whos stuck in there the entire hour holding their head stable???


    This is what I would like people to do. I would like them to put on the heaviest warmest clothing they have (firefighter gear can weigh upwards of 50 pounds), then I want them to climb into the backseat of a tiny car (which is what most cars become after accidents), then I want them to sit there in their 50 pounds of warm clothing in the crammed back seat in sweltering 80 temps (so about 120 degrees in the car), then I want them to hold their hands up and hold someones head stable with no arm support. Then I'd like them to stay that way for an hour and not move (we are not allowed to let go of someones head once we have stabilized it). Then while that hour ticks by I'd like them to tell that person over and over "dont worry, we almost have you out" when the person honestly thinks they will never get out. Then I'd like them to do this while extremely loud saws are all around spitting metal at you and glass breaks down your back (wonderful feeling by the way). Then after you are done with your hour I want you to climb back out full of glass and grimy and dirty and hot and having to pee and STILL have to take care of the person, treat them, and spend the next hour taking them to the hospital and coming back. Then once you are back let me know if you think an hour getting someone out is too long.
    I dont think the general public realizes how difficult rescues after car accidents are becoming. We waste so much time finding airbags, shutting off airbags, disconnecting car batteries, and trying to figure out where to cut the stupid car we end up wasting a good 20 minutes BEFORE we even start the extrication.

    Yes car makers are making cars safer than they used to and preventing alot of injuries, but I'm telling you from experience that these newer cars dont prevent fatal injuries all the time, there are still alot of people riding in those cars(alot with out seatbelts) that are still severely injured. They can make the safest cars in the world, but if people dont take responsbility they will still get injured and we still MUST Have a way to get them out.


    I am tired of news stories saying how long it took so and so fire department to get someone out of a car(we had that last month). I want to see them sweat for an hour trying to cut through this stupid metal with tools that arent made for newer cars or newer cars that are just impossible to get into to begin with. They never mention its taking longer because cars are that much harder to cut apart.

    There MUST be a happy medium between car manufacters and those who have to rescue people. If they want to make cars that are safer then they need to work with tool manfuacters and the fire service to make sure we have the tools to get people out of these cars. They are not doing that right now and in my mind, that is not right. We MUST have safer cars, but we MUST have safer and easier conditions for those who need to rescue them becasue we all know...safer cars do not equal smarter people who wont crash....they will still crash...and still need US to come get them out.

    This may not be a popular opinion, but its coming from someone who has to do this every day

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  7. #6
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    to echo papooses' comment, geesh!



    the undertone of the article seems to be that we should go back to less safe cars so that the emergency crews can be heroes and save near-death people rather than have safer cars prevent people from getting into near-death situations in the first place .

    another thing that the article didn't mention is that rescure crews also have to be more careful *where* they cut into the cars. side curtain airbags are inside of the roof rails, and cutting into the roof can cause them to deploy (if they hadn't already from the accident).

    I did not quote the entire article due to copyright. But if you go to the link and read the entire article, it does address that issue as well.
    Lysandra
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  8. #7
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Eviesmama- ICAM!
    The whole point IMHO was to make people aware of just how long it does take firefighters and EMTs to extricate people AND that they need better and more up to date tools to do their jobs.
    HOWEVER, that costs money- BIG money, that most fire stations can not afford.
    Lysandra
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  9. #8
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by lodonal65 View Post
    Eviesmama- ICAM!
    The whole point IMHO was to make people aware of just how long it does take firefighters and EMTs to extricate people AND that they need better and more up to date tools to do their jobs.
    HOWEVER, that costs money- BIG money, that most fire stations can not afford.
    That post wasnt directed at you It was sort of directed at another posters comments...I just needed to vent. It was a great article you shared though that needs to be spread. Thanks for sharing it
    Also what does ICAM mean???

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
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  10. #9
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    yeah, i know it was directed at me and i shouldn't have used the term "heroes" ... my point (which i didn't articulate well) was that it sounded like they were blaming the car companies for these delays, when in fact they should be embracing the fact that cars are so much safer, and placing the blame on inadequate equipment... not the cars themselves.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  11. #10
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    to echo papooses' comment, geesh!



    the undertone of the article seems to be that we should go back to less safe cars so that the emergency crews can be heroes and save near-death people rather than have safer cars prevent people from getting into near-death situations in the first place .

    another thing that the article didn't mention is that rescure crews also have to be more careful *where* they cut into the cars. side curtain airbags are inside of the roof rails, and cutting into the roof can cause them to deploy (if they hadn't already from the accident).
    I haven't read all the replies yet so forgive me if I'm being repetitive. The full article does mention the care needed with cars with side curtain airbags if you click the link. The quoted part is an excerpt (can't have the whole thing reposted here due to copyright issues ). My take on the article is it points out the need for upgraded and costlier equipment to handle extrication from sturdier cars, not that it's suggesting we back track to less sturdy vehicles. We'd all prefer to be in a more crashworthy vehicle in a crash if possible, and surely rescuers would rather rescue crash survivors who were saved by the crashworthiness of their vehicle.

    Thanks again to the OP for sharing the article.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
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  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Eviesmama- Thank you! been there done that.

    It is totally irresponsible of auto manufacturers to put cars on the market that they haven't tested in extrication scenarios. It should be the auto manufacturers responsibility to provide funding to develop new and improved tools for extrication and to fund grants so fire departments can afford them and provide the training to use them.

    It is nice to hear that the auto manufacturers are developing safer vehicles. I just don't think their responsibility stops there.

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  13. #12
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabes View Post
    Eviesmama- Thank you! been there done that.

    It is totally irresponsible of auto manufacturers to put cars on the market that they haven't tested in extrication scenarios. It should be the auto manufacturers responsibility to provide funding to develop new and improved tools for extrication and to fund grants so fire departments can afford them and provide the training to use them.

    It is nice to hear that the auto manufacturers are developing safer vehicles. I just don't think their responsibility stops there.
    I totally agree with you

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
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  14. #13
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabes View Post
    It is totally irresponsible of auto manufacturers to put cars on the market that they haven't tested in extrication scenarios. It should be the auto manufacturers responsibility to provide funding to develop new and improved tools for extrication and to fund grants so fire departments can afford them and provide the training to use them.
    i couldn't possibly disagree with that more.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  15. #14
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    It would be great if all fire department could afford the newest and best extrication tools, but we can't. We have to deal with what we have. Our department can barely keep up with turnouts that aren't expired, let alone everything else. I have been waiting about 6 years for our fire department to be built. We still have just an empty lot. We just don't have the money.

  16. #15
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    i couldn't possibly disagree with that more.
    It is easy to say you disagree, but why?

    I understand you want safer cars. I agree safer cars are wonderful. Sometimes safer cars are not enough. Sometimes for you to live I need to be able to get you out of your previously safe car. . . .FAST! "The golden hour" is no joke; it is a very well studied fact. If you (or your child) has sustained serious trauma you have a much better chance of survival if you get to an appropriate trauma center (ER) within an hour.

    Since most fire departments do not have the funding to buy equipment and train personnel they have limited options. Departments that are funding through public funds could request a tax increase. Or department that are volunteer based and funded through donations could have telemarketers call your house more often. These efforts to raise funds still might not produce the desired results meaning you are still stuck in your previously safe car while your "golden hour" rapidly passes.

    The auto industry knows well before the fire department what is coming as far as safety upgrades. They already have a source of money. Yes, they will raise the price tag on vehicles. I would gladly pay the extra money.

    When you are the one trying to extricate an injured person from a vehicle. . . .when you are the one who if fighting for the life of another person you don't even know. . . .when you have fought to receive extra funds to improve the rescue program in your community and lost. . . .when a life has slipped away in your hands because you couldn't make things happen fast enough. . . then come back and give your opinions without backing yourself up.

    Who should pay for the equipment and training necessary to save your life because the current equipment won't work because your car was made more safe?

    The whole idea here ISN'T to slow down the production of safer cars, it IS to have the equipment needed to save your life when the safest car wasn't safe enough.
    Last edited by Kabes; 03-20-2008 at 06:11 PM. Reason: adding last sentence

    DD 7 FF in Regent, DD 5 FF in Regent
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  17. #16
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by Judi View Post
    It would be great if all fire department could afford the newest and best extrication tools, but we can't. We have to deal with what we have. Our department can barely keep up with turnouts that aren't expired, let alone everything else. I have been waiting about 6 years for our fire department to be built. We still have just an empty lot. We just don't have the money.


    LOL...you mean people have turnout gear that is newer than 1995????? I think mine is about that old! hehe My husbands "newest" truck on his department (a full time department) is from 1990....NFPA standards are trucks should be replaced after 15 yrs...kinda funny that their newest is what is considered too old

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  18. #17
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    i couldn't possibly disagree with that more.
    Safe cars dont mean a d*mn thing if we can't get the person out and they bleed to death because they didnt figure out BEFORE they made their "safe car" that maybe they should make sure there are tools that actually cut the "safe car" open in case it actually does crash and the person inside does need to get out quickly.

    Golden hour in a nut shell: the ideal time to get you into a trauma center to get treatment started. Well tested theory that found people have a much higher survival rate if they are treated within an hour of when the trauma occured. They found that beyond this window survival decreases dramatically.

    My example of how quickly a golden hour goes by:

    Time of accident: 6:30pm
    Time reported to police:6:32
    Time it is paged out to the fire dept: 6:34pm
    Since almost 80% of the fire dept in the US are volunteer or paid on call I will use their response times
    Time personnel get to the fire department from their own homes:6:38
    Time ambulance and fire truck leave the station: 6:42
    Time they get to the scene:6:47
    Time it takes to "size up" the scene, ensure all air bags are off, battery is disconnected, what equipment they need, that no potential flammable fuels are leaking and if they are do something about it, start power tools 6:53
    Get firefighter inside car to hold "cspine" and cover them with blanket of some type and have ambulance crew get their equipment ready 6:56
    Start cutting car 6:58
    Finish extrication cutting on a normal no problems car 7:08
    Put person in neck collar and get them strapped into "KED" board (a board used to immoblize sitting people 7:14
    Get person out of car 7:17
    Strap them to backboard and get them into ambulance 7:19
    Start asking questions, take blood pressure and pulse, do advance life support if able like IV'S, heart monitor, start ambulance report, ask pertinent medical questions 7:29
    Start transport to the hospital 7:32
    OOPS...golden hour is over!!
    Get to the hospital (in an ideal world) 7:46
    GIve report to nurse and doctor 7:50
    Treatment at ER starts 7:52

    This is a very realistic timeline in a perfect car accident. We were no where close to the "golden hour" as you see. We are already so far past the Golden Hour that ANY delay could be catastrophic to that patient. So to have a car that is easy to extricate someone from is absolultely necessary. We cannot waste one extra minute trying to cut into a car. So its great they are making "safe cars" however, it IS prolonging getting people treatment. That you cannot argue.

    And since car manuf. DONT make sure proper tools for extrication exist before rolling out new "safe" cars I feel it IS their responsiblity that these delays are happening. Can you honestly tell me who's responsiblity it is to make sure there are proper tools that exist (because right now they don't) before hand if the only person who knows about the new technology are the car makers???? Right now NO ONE knows about the new technology except people making the cars, not tool companies, and certainly not fire departments..so who then IS responsible???

    Im sorry for getting so fired up but this topic really irks me...hopefully someone will back me up

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  19. #18
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by Eviesmama View Post
    Im sorry for getting so fired up but this topic really irks me...hopefully someone will back me up
    I'm fired up too! Thanks for backing me up (at least I feel like you did).

    DD 7 FF in Regent, DD 5 FF in Regent
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  20. #19
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabes View Post
    It is easy to say you disagree, but why?
    Quote Originally Posted by Eviesmama View Post
    Safe cars dont mean a d*mn thing if we can't get the person out and they bleed to death because they didnt figure out BEFORE they made their "safe car" that maybe they should make sure there are tools that actually cut the "safe car" open in case it actually does crash and the person inside does need to get out quickly.
    i don't think it's accurate or fair to say that safer cars "don't mean a d*mn thing" if you can't get the person out before they die. the safer car can mean the difference between the person in the accident being stable and safely waiting for rescue personnel to cut them out, versus being dead already when the rescue personnel arrive. in that scenario, the jaws of life "don't mean a d*mn thing" because the passengers were DOA (or, for you emergency responders, "DRT"). the safer car does a better job at injury and death *prevention* in the first place. statistically, people are safer and there are fewer fatalities because cars are safer, not because people are getting extracted from their cars any better. so even with the extraction technology remaining the same, less people are dying. it is the cars' safer designs that are to thank for that, not the jaws of life.

    also, car makers may have the expertise in designing safe cars with newer technologies, but they are not necessarily experts in tool designs. they shouldn't be responsible for designing or making the tools to extract people. leave that up to the tool companies. however, i do feel it is the responsibility of the car makers to provide the technical data to the tool companies about what types of material exist on different parts of the car, and what types of forces might be required to cut different parts of the car apart. basically, they should make that data available to the tool companies so that they can develop the proper tools.

    but why should the car makers have to foot the bill for such tools? the job of the car maker is to make cars, and to make them SAFE during an accident. once the accident has happened and the car has protected its occupants, its job is done.

    should the developers who build the houses we live in be responsible for funding the fire departments? after all, if it weren't for our houses, we wouldn't be risking death if there's a fire. (let's add in the plumbers, the electricians, carpenters, and masons into the responsibility mix, since they all had a hand in building the house). that's ridiculous. the responsibility has to end somewhere.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  21. #20
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Re: Sturdier Cars Making Rescues Harder

    Wow! This whole article and responses have really opened my eyes.
    I never thought my "safe" vehicle could one day be not so safe when it comes to the aftermath of a crash.
    Lysandra
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