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When confronted with a vehicle on it's side, many fire/rescue agencies are accustomed to using cribbing or ropes to stabilize a vehicle. This can serve as a temporary measure towards a truly stabilized vehicle. The use of rescue struts has been around for quite sometime but few rescuers receive the quality training needed to perform such operations.

When cutting roof posts, roof rails, and displacing critical elements that support the vehicle while on its side or on its roof, consideration should be given towards where struts are placed.

When placing struts on a vehicle on its side, do you prefer struts on the chassis side or the passenger side?

In your response, please justify and explain your position. I am looking for a variety of perspectives for some training I am looking to conduct.

Please watch the video below. Notice the cribbing but no support on passenger side. Struts were placed on chassis side.

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Actually since the struts are so quick and easy to set up placing them on both sides is a good way to go. Chassis side there usually isn't any problem but due to patient extrication the passenger side can pose challenges. Using a halligan or something similar you can usually get a purchase point between the trunk and quarter panel along with the hood and quarter panel. Even if you place one on the chassis side centered and two on the passenger side you have a very stable vehicle. Again the variable is type, size and condition of the vehicle.

Another variable is the terrain. This was ideal, a asphalt parking lot. Many times we are working in a ditch or uneven terrain. This is why I recommend placing struts on both side because if it is soft or wet soil all bets are off on that vehicle's position once you start working on it. With properly placed struts on both sides the vehicle will remain where you want it. I'm always afraid cribbing will sink in or slide away. One aspect of the struts that people overlook is staking them in place.

Another reason I like placing struts on the passenger side is because when you start removing the windshield or cutting pillars that vehicle is losing a large portion of its structural strength. With struts on the bottom only you could run the risk of the vehicle rolling onto its top and onto your rescuers and patient.

Just my thoughts,
I think that Walt has it pegged. I would always try to get struts on both sides [shiny side and dirty side ;-)] of the vehicle before I’d call it stable. As long as you have good grab points, you can lift the body of the vehicle into the air if you have to. This will also give you good visual indicators if the struts start to sink or the vehicle otherwise starts to settle.
I don’t know if I would stake the pads down. First, I don’t know what would be enough to hold the pads in place if the vehicle was on an incline and tried to move. Also, any pin that you are trying to drive is going to be dependent on the ground (the gravel road/asphalt parking lot). If I was looking at the set up and getting worried, I’d probably think in terms of tying off to a rig or other fixture on the up hill side of the scene.

Good scenario. I look forward to other thoughts.
Larry, when I mentioned staking the struts that was to keep them from slipping out from a 90 degree angle in relation to the vehicle. It was clear in my head but you understand how things are lost in translation. Our Rescue 42's came with some pretty hefty picket stakes that will serve many uses besides staking the strut in place.

Trey, I'm willing to bet that in your training agenda you were going to cover making sure that the struts remain at the 90 degree angle otherwise you lose the buttress type system and they are no longer effective. It seems simple and is one of the key components of using struts but sometimes the simple things are always hard.

Good luck,
I didn't watch the video because I don't have a driver for Flash, but I had assumed that the struts are being secured by ratchet straps at the bottom of the triangle. I thought that when pins were mentioned, it was to keep the struts and vehicle from sliding if the angle is severe.

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