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#278982 - 01/23/16 11:09 PM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: hikermor]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1739
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Originally Posted By: Tom_L


A self-rescue scenario on the other hand is a different matter. You might get knocked unconscious or hurt pretty badly. People react differently to that sort of thing so it's good knowing (through training or previous experience) how you react under real stress.


This discussion so far seems to assume that getting out of the seat belt and the vehicle is the first priority and a good thing. This is not true if you "are hurt pretty badly." Hasty evacuation before stabilization of injuries, especially those to the spinal column, can turn routine trauma into a much worse situation.

Other than cases where the vehicle is on fire (and those are actually rare, despite what you see on TV), an ideal progression is assessment of the patient in situ, first aid/stabilization of potential injuries, and then release from the belt, which might be best done by cutting.

If I were to be on scene, I would almost automatically apply a cervical collar,just to be safe. Then I would extricate.


I agree. Smashing windows and cutting seatbelts should only be done if there is immediate danger (fire, water, etc). Otherwise let the proffesionals do it.
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#278983 - 01/24/16 03:39 AM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: hikermor]
JeffMc Offline
Member

Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 129
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: hikermor
... Other than cases where the vehicle is on fire (and those are actually rare, despite what you see on TV), an ideal progression is assessment of the patient in situ, first aid/stabilization of potential injuries, and then release from the belt, which might be best done by cutting. ...


Good point. If you are a non-professional first responding civilian at a collision scene, it's usually best to leave the patient where and as you find them, and leave the window breaking, extrication, etc. to the pros.

The exceptions are, in addition to imminent threat from an actual car fire, are if the patient's injuries demand immediate action to save life that cannot be performed in place, or there is a high risk to the occupants and rescuers from oncoming traffic, as with a wreck in the middle of a dark or foggy highway, behind a blind curve or hill, etc.

You might be surprised at how many secondary collisions into accident scenes or near misses I've seen, even with millions of candlepower of emergency lights flashing, cops waving down traffic, and everybody in reflective gear. Working a wreck on a busy highway or a dark, curvy rural road can be really frightening.

So the main reason for carrying seatbelt cutters and window breakers is SELF-extrication if necessary to escape additional danger, and only secondarily for those rare instances where immediately extricating someone else is essential.

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#278992 - 01/24/16 11:53 AM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: Tjin]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1029
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Tjin
[quote]
Have you tried? Because I found carsdoors to be pretty stubborn. Steel doors (any, not just cars) tend to bent, not break.


I had the oppotunity to force open a car door with a manual tool during a training for emergency teams. We used a specialized axe for that and still struggled to get the door open.
The axe provides much better leverage and grip than a Glock field knife. From that experience I think that a Glock field knife (or any knife of similar size) is not up to the job. That does not even take in consideration that the tang of the Glock knife is too short to really give the stability of a prybar.
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#279005 - 01/24/16 08:51 PM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: M_a_x]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Just curious, have you ever seen a Glock field knife break at the tang? IME it's an extremely robust knife for its size and weight, which is not a lot more than a Mora and a good deal less than a USMC Kabar or many other 'sharpened prybars' in the 6-7" blade length. I have seen the Glock stand up to an awful lot of abuse, stuff that most of us would never be willing to try with a more expensive knife, including prying open a locked door and punching holes through sheet metal. While I'm not affiliated with the brand in any way, they do know how to make a near-indestructible product.

But anyway, that's totally beside the point. I'm not in any way advocating the idea of relying on the Glock field knife or any other fixed blade in general as your primary rescue tool. It's important to keep in mind though that for practical reasons, very few people keep a full-sized rescue tool in their car. A knife is a different story though, many of us have one within reach for all kinds of utility tasks. It's worthwile to consider that a robust knife, even if by no means ideal for the purpose, can be used as an emergency rescue tool if absolutely needed and in the absence of a better alternative.

99% of the time, such extreme measures are not needed and it's far better to let the pros handle the situation. However, if no help can be expected and push really comes to shove - what do you do? Give up altogether because you're not ideally prepared for the job? Or at least give it a honest try to do something about the situation with what you have at hand?

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#279006 - 01/24/16 09:31 PM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: Tom_L]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
Easy question - give it your best shot with whatever tool you have. Here's a question for those of you with some experience - might it be easier to cut a hole in the roof, assuming it is accessible and feasible, rather than force the door open, especially if all you have is a sturdy knife?
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#279008 - 01/24/16 09:45 PM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: Tom_L]
JeffMc Offline
Member

Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 129
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: Tom_L
... for practical reasons, very few people keep a full-sized rescue tool in their car. ...


If you're volunteering for the local rescue squad, your house is located along "Dead Man's Curve" and you keep fining rollover wrecks in your front yard, or for some other reason you want or need to carry some more serious rescue tools, the combination of a Halligan Tool, fire axe, and the hands-on training to use them safely and correctly, allows you force open a surprisingly large variety of vehicles, buildings, doors, padlocks and other things.

They'll cost you a couple of hundred bucks, but they don't take up a huge amount of space in your trunk, and they're serious, versatile tools meant for serious work.

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#279009 - 01/24/16 09:58 PM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: ireckon]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1739
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Easy question - give it your best shot with whatever tool you have. Here's a question for those of you with some experience - might it be easier to cut a hole in the roof, assuming it is accessible and feasible, rather than force the door open, especially if all you have is a sturdy knife?


There are two generally reasons to cut a car open to extract a victim:

- Possible neck and/or back injury, which requires the patient to be removed on a spine board.
- The victim is physically trapped in the car, due to collapse of the passenger compartment or intrusions in to the passenger compartment (steering wheel, pedals, dashboard(components)). This however has become less and less of an issue, with newer safer cars.

Cutting a car roof does not help in these situations. It does create a new hazard; the sharp edges and you are prying with a knife near a patient and well it’s also dangerous to yourself.

Note, sometimes you do not need to cut. Keep things simple. Sliding the seat back or tilt the seat can create space. Also note that cutting is not always the solution, spreading to create space is just as important in the rescue bag of tricks. (note, most cars have a jack, which in some situations could be used as an emergency tool. However most jacks lack proper bases, so they may slip off easily. Again first choice is professional rescue.)

Also if you pry, pry in smart places and sometimes combine it with other tools. For example, for door removal prying space on the hinge side, can open up enough space to access the bolts. The door can then be removed with a socket set.

What some rescue departments do with possible neck and/or spinal injury in car with back access (minivans, hatchbacks), is to remove the back seat, tilt the patient on its chair and slide spine board under the patient and slide the patient out the back. No cutting required, saving time, damage to the vehicle and issues with sharp bits. Tools required: socket set to remove the backseat.

As for a knife as metal cutting tool or pry bar. Well no experience with that use, but compared to a proper tool, a knife looks like a very very poor choice.

Extra note; with crush injuries. If body parts have been crushed and bloodflow stopped for longer periodes of time; beaware of crush syndrome.
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#279013 - 01/24/16 11:06 PM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: ireckon]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1429
Loc: North Carolina
Stanley Pry Bar

What I keep in my car and have used on a car door, a car trunk, and a house internal door. A hammer helps a bit to get it in.

I also carry a Gerber seat belt cutter with a glass breaking point (never used it), and EMT shears.

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#279014 - 01/25/16 12:44 AM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6648
Loc: southern Cal
I have one of those in my vehicle trunk - a very versatile instrument. I have a similar bar with a gas shutoff fitting in my CERT bag. Incidentally, if you ever have to excavate a large fossil, the Stanley pry bar, used carefully, is marvelously effective.
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#279015 - 01/25/16 02:36 AM Re: Carry a blade that can cut through a seatbelt... [Re: Montanero]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
Originally Posted By: Montanero


OMG, it's only $3.88 as an add-on for Amazon Prime users??? That's a steal!

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