What is your department's protocol on cutting battery cables on an MVA scene. I know that if you're doing cutting and extrication, it's a no brainer. 

However, what about the BS call when there's minimal damage to the car and the person is complaining of neck and back pain? In order to remove the person, we have to put personnel inside the vehicle. Should we take the extra step to cut the battery cables even on a fender bender? Is it safe to put personnel inside the vehicle with undeployed airbags? What are your thoughts?

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Adam,

To your question, Should we take the extra step to cut the battery cables even on a fender bender? No.
Referring back to your earlier statement about a 'no brainer', why would you cut cables for a fender bender? Even when there's minimal or even extensive damage, if it's possible to simply remove the cables from the posts, that's what i would do. I cut cables as a last resort, not a first one.
If there is no indication No, don't cut them...a fender bender is one example....BUT, it seems wrong to refer publically to any call as a "BS" call...We are here to serve the public, and I am sure if they were involved in an MVA that they would not refer to it as BS....Please think before you speak in public...it reflects poorly on your Department....
alright, obviously what we have here is a failure to communicate.

By cut the cables, I mean cut the power, disconnect the batteries by whatever means are appropriate. My question is not the method by which you disconnect, but do you disconnect?

Jack, I feel it is a "no brainer" to disconnect the batteries on the scene of a heavy extrication. It's my department's protocol to disconnect the battery and since we're cutting the car, it's going to be totaled so there's no point in fussing with a terminal puller or finding the right wrench to disconnect it when a quick clip with cable cutters will do the job. (just remember negative first)

Paul, you said 'if there is no indication no, don't cut them" What would you consider a proper indication to disconnect batteries?

So to reiterate: When do you disconnect batteries? Should it be every MVA? If not, when do you consider doing it?

Just in case, I don't mean to sound argumentative, I just am re-evaluating my EMS agency's protocol and was wondering what other opinions on the matter are.
Working around air bags that have not deployed is edgy and a primary reason to disconnect cables . First make sure you have no further need for power to windows , seats , etc. Then when you disconnect ensure it can't reconnect accidentally either with tape or if cutting remove about 6 inches from the cables. That's a quick review of how we do it , but I'm sure there are lots of other considerations and even criticisms. , so keep reading.
My question is, and I can't find a lot of information on, is hybrid cars. I would like to know where/how to cut on the car and where the cables are run. I know there are disconnect switches but they are located in different places on the veheicles, or so I have been told. So where can I go to get info about this?
Hi Michael,
I just checked into that, and there might be a good place to at least start. Firehouse.com and search for University of Extrication. The auther is Ron Moore, and If memory serves, he is in fact on FFN. I have heard about his extrication courses through a number of people here in Canada. Hope that helps. Good question you had too.
good luck. let the nation know what you find out k?
Micheal,

Also check I believe its fire engineering did an article on extrication of hybrid vehicles about a year or so ago you can check their website and also if you would like Ill take a look through my training guide to see if I can find the article for you
Thanks guys I'll check these sources and I appreciate the responses.
Why do we do this? Because we always do is not a reason. Think about it, only do this if there is a need then do it. There are dangers to this and you need to take precautions. On routine calls you don’t need to do this, it only makes it more difficult for the wrecker service to tow the vehicle. On extrications yes if you can get to the battery, otherwise work around the airbags.
A battery gives of hydrogen gas when heated, very explosive. Cause a spark and you will get injured. Flush the area with a hoseline to remove the gases and then disconnect the negative cable 1st. Then remove the positive side. If you reverse this there is a chance of causing a spark and explosion. Wear your protective gear with eye protection. I have run a couple of incidents where civilians received severe eye injuries when the battery exploded in their faces.
Yet another good reason to wear full turnout gear and put your faceshield down on your helmet before trying to disconnect/cut the battery. Of course if you are extricating then you should have it on anyway.
There is a habit of exercising "rapid extrication" on minor injury extrications. You should take the time to elminate ALL the safety concerns before you extricate a patient with minor injuries. This includes cutting the batter cables. If rescue personnel are gonna be getting in an airbag deployment zone you need to take the step to disable them.

If you're working in a hybrid you should def check over the drive systems (gear stick, ignition, etc) and airbags. So on and so forth.

If you're not working in the car, then don't worry about the battery cables.
So, we're talking about disconnecting/cutting cables from the car battery. Do you know which cable to disconnect and/or cut?

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