Article and photos by David Dalrymple
I have an interesting challenge for you in this column. It involves a popular vehicle that we all have seen, yet maybe you haven't had to deal with one yet out on a motor vehicle collision (MVC) or at an extrication. Pickup trucks are a popular vehicle, but many of them have multiple doors in either a four-door cab or a "max-cab" configuration. The latter consists of two normal-sized front doors with two half-sized doors hinged in the opposite direction. Thus, the vehicle has no B post but the doors are extremely difficult to remove. In the evolutions below, we will show the rescuer two different ways to remove both doors together, thus removing the entire side. The small door is secured by three latches (one top, one bottom, and one door-to-door) and two very large door hinges.
The key to both evolutions is to start at the top of the small door with the top latch.
- Get into the bed of the pickup and pry open the top of the small door. Cut the latch of the small door.
- Using the spreader, work the rear of the small door open to expose the door hinges. Cut the hinges (be aware it might take four cuts because of their size).
- Use the spreader to push the lower part of the small door away to expose the bottom latch. Cut the bottom latch with the cutter.
- Both doors should then swing open on the front door's hinges. Cut the front door hinges and then the wiring loom with a hand tool and remove the side of the truck.
- Get into the bed of the truck. Use the spreader to pop the top latch of the small door.
- Use the spreader to widen the rear of the small door. Pop each of the small door latches with the spreader.
- Force the lower part of the small door to expose the lower small door latch. Pop the latch with the spreader.
- Both doors swing open on the front door's hinges. Force the front door hinges with the spreader and cut the wiring loom with a hand tool.
In many ways, pickup trucks can have the sides removed quickly to facilitate total side removal. The key thing is to use leverage and use the vehicle itself to gain access to the top of the small door to begin the total side removal. Although this vehicle type isn't something we see in extrication every day, many of this type of pickup truck are on the road; it's a good possibility you might encounter one of these at an MVC. The multi-door configuration and the lack of B post can make extrication difficult if using normal tool evolutions. This door configuration is found in both full-size and smaller pickup trucks. The evolutions described above can make a total side removal in these vehicles quick and simple in full-size or smaller pickup trucks.
DAVID DALRYMPLE is a career EMS provider for the RWJUH Emergency Medical Services in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and a volunteer firefighter/EMT/rescue technician for Clinton (NJ) EMS/Rescue. He has been actively involved with emergency services for 27 years. He is the education chair of the Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee-US (TERC), is a certified international level extrication assessor, and serves on the Expert Technical Advisory Board of the IETRI as their road traffic accident advisor. Certified as a NJ fire service instructor, he has been teaching transportation rescue topics for more than 16 years. He is the executive educator for Roadway Rescue LLC, an educational team for transportation rescue training. He is an ICET (Netherlands) certified registered International SAVER instructor. He writes on "Extrication Tactics" for Fire Engineering and contributed to Fire Engineering's Handbook for Firefighter I and II (2009). He received the 2007 Harvey Grant award for excellence in rescue education. He is featured in "Training Minutes" on vehicle extrication on fireengineering.com.