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from the CARSP Conference
First-Responder Safety – Air Bags and Hybrid Vehicles
Modern vehicles may be equipped with multiple air bags and seat belt pre-tensioners which are pyrotechically operated. Such devices are deployed extremely rapidly and inadvertent deployment may result in injury to individuals in close proximity. Since not all of these systems are necessarily actuated in the event of a collision, first-responders must be alert to the potential risk of injury from undeployed devices when working on collision-involved vehicles.
Gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles use motive power derived from a conventional gasoline engine supplemented by a high voltage electric battery pack. In the event of a crash, emergency rescue personnel, including police officers, ambulance crews, and fire fighters, and recovery personnel conducting towing operations, should be aware of the potential for injury through electrolye spillage and electric shock.