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Extrication "Quick" Tip #34 (The Junkyard Cut)

This week’s extrication quick tip will be covering a method that I refer to as the “Junkyard Cut”. It was discussed heavily during Tactical Extrication NJ this weekend. When training on dash displacements the statement was made, “I was taught you have to cut the front support to get a good dash lift.” This prompted this weeks “Quick Tip”….On heavy entrapments, dash displacements (lifts or rolls) are common. The best methods to displace a dash are a full article in its own.  Today I will be covering the cutting- pinching-relief of the front fender area to weaken the front supports so the dash lifts “easier”. The full cut is completed by severing the area just behind the strut tower (dash side). There are two opinions on this method….some instructors say you have to do it, some say don’t. My opinion is that this cut is typically not necessary and here is my reasons why.

In the many years on the interstate, I can honestly say I have not needed to use this cut for facilitate good dash displacement. Is it an option…sure…but typically the reason a dash displacement isn’t successful is due to the lack of a good-complete lower (A post) sever (Extrication “Quick Tip” 26-The DEEP CUT)

Why is this cut not mandatory? First, we must look at why many say this cut/pinch is necessary. The purpose is to create weaken the upper support and to create a “relief” area to support a good dash lift. My thought process on this method is simple. Think back to the last MVC you operated on with entrapment by the dash….If there was enough front end damage and compression to trap the patient by the legs, don’t you think that the upper supports have been weakened enough to facilitate the lift? I have found that in my experience the answer has been yes. However, this is where I derived the name Junkyard Cut for this method. During extrication, many times the vehicles will be in decent shape and are very structurally sound. Therefore, when completing this training in the “junkyard” there is no compression of the front end and the vehicle is in its strongest state often causing dash lift issues.  From this extrication training, many started making the pinch or relief to help with a dash lift on these vehicles and in turn students started looking at this method as a must. As operators, we must research each technique, train on it, and see if it’s fitting for our responses. If you follow my training I go by the concept never say never, never say always. There may be a time when you need to make a relief or use the “junkyard cut”, but I believe more often than not it is an unnecessary step on the real world extrication scene, wasting valuable time. Just something to think about….

ISAAC FRAZIER is a Special Operations Lieutenant with St. Johns County Florida’s Heavy Rescue “Squad 4”. First due to the deadliest stretch of roadway in the nation, Frazier teaches from personal street experience providing tried and true tactics. Frazier is the owner of Tactical Advantage Training and creator of the course Tactical Extrication. Frazier travels nationally sharing his passion teaching fire and extrication courses. Frazier is a Fire Officer II, FL Paramedic, Special Operations Officer, Florida State Instructor, FLUSAR Tech, Diver, and FL Hazmat Tech.

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Comment by Paul J De Bartolomeo on May 13, 2015 at 5:23pm


The most recent offset crash test has indicated that many vehicles had extremely weak upper rail susceptible to the deformity you speak of in a front end or offset collision. These test findings have caused many auto makers to re-engineer the upper rail in order to pass the offset test and receive a good crash rating. The changes made to the upper rails have been quite significant. I'd be willing to bet that they remain fairly intact following significant collisions, and would likely need to be cut in order to achieve lift of the dash.

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