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Wednesday

Extrication: A Thing of the Past

How long will it be before the evolution of hybrid and alternate fuel vehicles changes the way we open vehicles and extricate trapped occupants? Will the cutting and tearing, muscle and sweat of hydralic tools become a thing of the past?

Interesting questions: no clear answers. The point, though, is that hybrid and alternate power vehicles have construction features and hidden hazards that will make traditional methods of disentanglement obsolete if not a potentaly harmful to the rescurer.

We shouldn't be suprised by this prediction...after all, we've seen changes in automobile construction that spured tactical changes before. You may remember at time when you could cut into a vehicle, gain a purchase point and move metal with some predictability. Perhaps those cars build prior the the 1980's fit here. After 1980, cars seemed to scale down and we saw less steel and more plastic. Frame construction changed as well as location of fuel lines. Plastic replaced steel in dashboards and crumple zones became an industy standard. Not long into the 80's traditional bumbers evolved (disapeared) and the airbag with its deployment system began to evolve.

From metal to plastic, frame to unibody, bumper to airgag, responders have adjusted thier extrication tactics and tecniques to fit the situation. Hybrind and alternate fuel vehicles represent the next generation of chage. The adjustment, however, will need to factor in hazards associated with the vehicle in evreyday conditions...not just in crash situations.

Perhaps the bigest concern is the use of high voltage electrical systems througout hybrind and alternalt fuel vehicles. These electrical systems are often hidden within the vehicle structure and rescures are advised not to cut into them. The charge and discharge time of an electrical system varries widly with vehicle manufacturer and the rescuer should consider the system "live" during extrication efforts. The location and potential hazard of high voltage cables have created "no cut zones" and limit the use of traditional operations such as roof removal and a dash roll-up. Even lifting a stearing colum may have to be avoided. Vehicle stabilization operations may also have to change as electrical system components become exposed during collision. The simple act of box cribbing under hybrind vehicles could expose rescures to damaged, live electrical conduting systems.

While we'll see less petrolium (gasoline) product, larger battery systems, high voltagae converters, additional acids, and fuels such as hydrogen will add another dynamic to controling hazards.

Thursday

Graduation Time!

Lee (at left) is one of the most senior medics in our region...here he is talking with one of our regions seniors who just became a medic (Rick Roach). Rick is also a former ILS student of mine.








Dr. Shah (right) and I solving the world problems...














Honored to be the Emcee for the event, I'm getting ready to open the evening with one of my special one-liners...







At left, Amy Ruffo takes the stage and salutes her class








Members of the junior paramedic class, Kate and Nikki, attended the graduation. They now belong to the SENIOR paramedic class of 2009! Best of luck!



Boys will be boys...and we'll leave it at that.












Mr. B looks on as the festivities begin. Peter is the lead instructor for the Monroe Community College Paramedic Program.







Mr. B gives his address and salute to the sixteenth graduating class of paramedics from Monroe Community College.







Laurie King (a former ILS student) receives her Paramedic Diploma.










Bob Breese getting ready to deliver the Paramedic Oath to the Class of 2008. Known for his trauma lectures and "bob-a-cology", Bob is a leader in and out of the classroom.











On a more serious note...














Best Wishes to the MCC Paramedic Class of 2008!