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Extrication "Quick Tip" #36 (HINGES-CUT OR SPREAD?)

The age-old question…to cut or spread door hinges. This subject is brought up in almost all of my classes. As with any extrication skill, there is a time and place for both. I personally cut and spread door hinges depending on hinge design and hinge access. However, in my experience, the cutting of door hinges is my preference based on a couple of variables.

Hinge type: Inverted vs. External-As a general rule of thumb, inverted hinges may be easier to spread while external hinges are easier to cut.

Hinge access: If you have good access to the hinge, cutting is my preferred method. The cutting of a hinge is a less dramatic movement than the alternative of popping a hinge with spreaders.

Dash displacement effect: When spreading hinges there is an issue that I have found over the years that can have a negative effect when completing a dash lift via spreaders. While spreading the lower door hinge you can put stress on the area of foot/leg entrapment by placing torque on the lower A post. If dash displacement is needed the now “torqued” lower A post is weakened and can/will fold outward losing strength, lift, and in extreme cases can start pulling the upper A post from the dash crossbeam. Look at the attached picture showing where a spread was completed on the hinges and note the roll and rotation of the weakened lower A post.

The choice of cut vs. spread is yours.  Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more of our Fire Engineering “Quick Tips”.

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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