Is it just me, or is it about time for the vehicle manufacturers to develop a standard for the placement of airbags and their stored gas inflators? With the way vehicles are designed these days to absorb the impact by crumpling around the driver/passengers, you would think that the manufacturers would try and work with the Fire Service and make it easier on us to extricate patients!
With the current airbag requirements, we're starting to see a standard in airbag placement, (driver, passenger, side curtain, knee area, etc.), but nothing in the way of stored gas inflator placement. They are placed in the A-posts, C-posts, D-posts, roof rail above the B-post, etc. We have to spend valuable time doing a "peel & peek" to find where they're placed before we can begin cutting the vehicle to remove our patients!
If they could develop a standard for the placement for airbag stored gas inflators, I believe it would save valuable time and improve rescuer safety. What do we as the Fire Service need to do to make this happen?
I don't think that we have that much squeak. Money is the motivating force, and there simply have not been enough rescue-induced SRS deployments to warrent the costs it would take to change the entire automotive industry - especially with the financial problems they're having with energy costs and the economy in the toilet.
Wouldn't it be nice if every vehicle had a "map" showing air bag placement, cartridge placement, and if a Hybrid, where the electrical lines are? Wouldn't it be nice to pop the trunk and see the hologram of the car with the stuff in plain sight? You would stand a better shot of seeing this than seeing a "blanket standard" imposed for locations of cartridges.
I think there definently needs to be some sort of standard or at least regulation. But unfortunatly I dont think this will ever happen. Vehicle shapes and dimensions are so different. some have no B post. The only advice I have, at least until they do regulate this, is you're going to cut the crap out of the car and probably total it. RIP the freaking plastic off the pillars and LOOK. its not really on there very well and you're gonna destroy it anyway. Good luck.