A question came up during yesterday’s Q&A portion of the Tesla shareholder meeting about how firefighters and first responders can extricate passengers safely from a Tesla. CEO Elon Musk quickly asserted that the company has provided Emergency Responder Guides on its website that outlines steps on how first responders can tend to victims trapped within the vehicle.
The following video by Brook Archer of Advanced Extrications and Randall Welles, assistant chief of the Denver Fire Department, gives a never-before-seen look at the challenges firefighters may face when working around the Model X’s unique falcon wing doors, coupled with high strength steel and high voltage cables.
Both men seen in the video compliment Tesla Motors for working closely with the fire and rescue community to protect first responders from injury while working to save lives. Based on suggestions made to the company by first responders, the DC/DC converter in the Model X has been moved from the right front wheel wheel to the center of the firewall. The charging controller has also been relocated to inside the rear quarter panel on the driver’s side. Both changes make access easier and safer for rescue personnel.
The video shows the location of manual pull cords that will release the latches for the front trunk lid, read deck lid, and both falcon wing doors if no 12 volt power is available. But sometimes, more extreme measures need to be taken.
Tesla has employed high strength boron steel in the areas surrounding all doors, The video delineates precisely where it is used so rescuers can avoid it with their cutting tools. In the video, workers demonstrate how to completely remove a falcon wing door and the B pillar the supports the roof between it and the front door of the Model X.
After breaking the window in the falcon wing door, a hydraulic ram is used to sever the connection between the upper and lower segments of the door. Then an hydraulic shear can remove the top half of the door from its hinges and sever the B pillar entirely in order to extricate anyone who may be severely injured inside. Despite its high safety ratings and 10 air bags, the Model X is not an impregnable fortress. People can still be injured, sometimes critically, in extreme circumstances.
No one expects to be hurt while riding in a Tesla, but if the worst happens, rescue personnel will need proper training to access the inside of the vehicle quickly and safely to remove injured parties and rush them to the nearest medical treatment facility.
Source: Advanced Extrications via YouTube
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