TR Footnotes FN_0913 : Page 1

TOWING & RECOVERY The Independent Voice of the Towing Industry September 2013 FOOTN TES ® w y o no hl nt inf & 25 mo o ges 24 p a re See P Keeping Industry Pros On Their Tows www.trfootnotes.com Largest In The Industry! See Page 27 More space, lower rate All Classified Ads In Full Color* Photoclassifieds In Print & Online** *at no added cost **for one low rate Bigger & Better! Our Classified Ads Are rotator to the rescue Stabilization completed before arrival of rotator BY GaRY BREuER in the towing sPotLight In this Issue: Asset Protection october: Big Rig Recovery Well-trained responders know towers can help them save lives the passenger’s side of the vehicle struck a tree right in hen we think of recovery personnel assisting advertise now! the area of the A-pillar, caus-in rescue operations, we often picture a heavy-Call David Abraham ing considerable intrusion duty wrecker being used to lift a large vehicle off of into the vehicle as well as the 877-219-7734, Ext 1 a smaller one in order to free a trapped victim, or a crushing down of the dash-similar scenario requiring the Gary Breuer Volume 24, Number 5 x $3.95 x ©2013 CAuSey enterPriSeS, LLC. x ALL rightS reSerVed. board and the roofline. the brute strength and lifting capa-force of the impact uprooted bility of recovery equipment. But recov-that tree, and the vehicle continued up ery equipment can be used in all sorts the embankment. of rescue situations with the proper Somehow, the front end of the mini-training and pre-planning. van dug into the dirt and the under-this past June, a single-vehicle carriage caught on the uprooted tree, crash involving a minivan tested first causing the vehicle to flip into the air. responders in hunterdon County, nJ. the minivan came to rest in a vertical the vehicle had been travelling down position, with the roof resting against a winding county road when the driver a dead tree. the rear end of the vehicle of the vehicle stated that she swerved to was pointing straight up into the air. avoid a deer in the roadway. the driver was heavily entrapped her evasive maneuver apparently by the crushed dashboard, and every caused her to lose control of the vehicle, movement she made as she struggled to and the vehicle began to skid sideways See RotAtoR, page 3 and ran off of the edge of the roadway. w P .O. Box 64397 Virginia Beach, VA 23467 Towing & Recovery Footnotes ® PrSt Std u.S. POStAge PAid peoria, il permit no. 315

ROTATOR TO THE RESCUE

Gary Breuer

<br /> Well-trained responders know towers can help them save lives<br /> <br /> When we think of recovery personnel assisting in rescue operations, we often picture a heavy-duty wrecker being used to lift a large vehicle off of a smaller one in order to free a trapped victim, or a similar scenario requiring the brute strength and lifting capability of recovery equipment. But recovery equipment can be used in all sorts of rescue situations with the proper training and pre-planning.<br /> <br /> This past June, a single-vehicle crash involving a minivan tested first responders in hunterdon County, nJ. the vehicle had been travelling down a winding county road when the driver of the vehicle stated that she swerved to avoid a deer in the roadway.<br /> <br /> Her evasive maneuver apparently caused her to lose control of the vehicle, and the vehicle began to skid sideways and ran off of the edge of the roadway. the passenger’s side of the vehicle struck a tree right in the area of the A-pillar, causing considerable intrusion into the vehicle as well as the crushing down of the dashboard and the roofline. the force of the impact uprooted that tree, and the vehicle continued up the embankment.<br /> <br /> Somehow, the front end of the minivan dug into the dirt and the undercarriage caught on the uprooted tree, causing the vehicle to flip into the air. the minivan came to rest in a vertical position, with the roof resting against a dead tree. the rear end of the vehicle was pointing straight up into the air.<br /> <br /> The driver was heavily entrapped by the crushed dashboard, and every movement she made as she struggled to free herself caused the vehicle to sway slightly and the dead tree to creak and groan under the load of the vehicle. Luckily, the driver was the only occupant of the vehicle.<br /> <br /> Towman Needed<br /> The local fire rescue departments were initially dispatched for a “car vs. tree” motor vehicle crash with possible entrapment. the fire chief happened to be in the area and arrived on the scene in less than two minutes. he conducted a quick scene size-up and determined that the situation was beyond the scope of his agency’s capabilities. he immediately requested that an additional heavy rescue unit be dispatched to assist.<br /> <br /> One of the local responders, who is also a member of the county technical rescue team, suggested that the chief also request the technical rescue team and a heavy-duty rotator wrecker in order to start developing a “Plan B.” It is critical when making a request for assistance from a towing and recovery company that the intended use of the recovery equipment and personnel is made clear: that the recovery equipment will be used as a part of the rescue operation.<br /> <br /> Many of the potential issues that can arise during an emergency can be avoided by training together well in advance of the incident. Law enforcement personnel on the scene also need to be aware of the specialized request for rescue assistance, so that they understand that no one is possibly violating the terms of a towing rotation list, etc.<br /> <br /> Many Concerns<br /> Technical rescue personnel arrived on the scene and began to stabilize the vehicle using a variety of equipment, including rescue struts, rigging slings, and a grip-hoist manual winch. “Plan A” was to stabilize the minivan to prevent any additional movement. Once that was completed, personnel would use hydraulic rescue tools to carefully cut specific spots so that the dashboard could be lifted off of the victim’s legs.<br /> <br /> The biggest concern with this plan was the idea that since the entire weight of the vehicle was now pushing down on the crumpled front end, how would the car react when the cuts were being made? Could weakening the structure of the vehicle to free the driver actually cause the entrapment to worsen, with the cutting causing the area around the A-pillar to crush even more?<br /> <br /> This concern seemed like a real possibility, so “Plan B” was started before any attempt to free the victim was made. throughout the operation, the driver remained conscious and alert. understandably, she was also quite anxious and wanted to get out immediately.<br /> <br /> Employing Plan B<br /> Plan B included getting the rotator as close to the wreck as possible and using the wrecker to support the weight of the vehicle in order to further prevent any shifting or crushing during the rescue operation.<br /> <br /> Washington Collision of Washington, nJ responded with their 1987 Peterbilt, equipped with a Century 1040S rotator. they were asked to approach the scene from a specific direction, and all non-essential vehicles were moved from this path so the wrecker could access the scene.<br /> <br /> Once on location, the personnel from Washington Collision spoke with the rescue officer in charge of the operation and the plan was reviewed. A member was assigned as the liaison between the wrecker operator and the rescue officer to ensure critical communication back and forth. tools and equipment were moved back while the wrecker inched carefully into place.<br /> <br /> The use of the rotator was critical in this case, because the narrow roadway would have made it nearly impossible to back a conventional wrecker into position to get the perfectly vertical pick required. Plan C was also developed, which included using the rotator to gently lower the vehicle back to the ground should the initial extrication efforts not be able to free the driver.<br /> <br /> Safe Extrication<br /> Once the wrecker was in position and the outriggers were set, the boom was swung over the wreck and the boom head carefully positioned directly over the rear of the minivan. rescue personnel had placed a 3/8-inch, grade-80 chain around the C-pillar on each side of the vehicle as the attachment points for the wrecker’s wire ropes. the hooks were attached, one on each side of the vehicle.<br /> <br /> The wrecker operator was then asked to gently “snug up” both winches. Once this was accomplished, the stabilization struts and equipment was checked and re-tightened, with the wrecker boom supporting most of the vehicle weight.<br /> <br /> Rescue personnel then went about carefully freeing the driver. the anxious patient actually wanted to climb out of the wreck on her own once her legs were freed, but eMS personnel carefully packaged and removed her from the vehicle to guard against aggravating any possible injuries. Amazingly, she had only some minor cuts and bruises. Seatbelts and air bags really saved her from more serious injuries.<br /> <br /> Once the patient was removed and the scene released by the state police, the rotator was used to carefully lower the van to the ground. the lowering operation was performed just as was planned in the event that “Plan C” was required. the lowering was completed safely and smoothly, and would have worked well had it been necessary to lower the vehicle to the ground with the patient still entrapped.<br /> <br /> In this case, knowing and utilizing the resources that the towing and recovery industry has available in the local area contributed greatly to making this unusual crash into a safe and successful rescue operation. never stop planning and training!<br /> <br /> Gary Breuer has been a police patrol officer since 1993. He has been a volunteer firefighter/EMT with the Flemington-raritan rescue Squad since 1984 and the West amwell Fire Company since 1994. He is Wreckmaster certified at the 6/7 level and has served as a rescue specialist with the State of new Jersey’s office of emergency management Urban Search and rescue task Force 1 since 1998. He is a nJ State- Certified level ii Fire instructor and is the chief instructor at the Hunterdon County (nJ) emergency Services training Center.

Towing & Recovery Footnotes

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