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Big Truck Extrication - Part 3: The Extrication

Big Truck Extrication - Part 3: The Extrication

David Pease, Carolina Fire/Rescue/EMS Journal

These have no outside doors for gaining entry, so cutting a “third door” may have to be done. Cutting at the top of the “B” post straight across toward the rear of the truck and then down will give you a good opening. This can be rolled down or you can continue your cut across the bottom back toward the front and completely remove the side section. This can be done using a reciprocating saw or an air chisel. Hydraulic cutters can be used, but they may take longer to perform the cuts than using the saw or the air chisel.

When cutting the sleeper compartment, keep in mind there are also plastics and insulation lining the inside of the walls.

Roof Removal

Removing the cab roof can be done by cutting the “A” post and putting the relief cuts toward the rear of the cab roof. Then crimp the roof using a pole and fold back as you would on a standard vehicle. You can cut all the post and do a complete roof removal and if the truck is on its side, you can flap the roof downward as well. Some trucks have the heating and air conditioning units mounted on the roof, or the unit may be mounted on the ceiling inside the cab.

Be careful not to cut the heater lines as they could release hot water on your patient or your rescuers. Always check before making any cuts into the vehicle.

Dash Push

You can push or lift the dash as needed utilizing your ram or spreaders. While placing your ram at the bottom of the “B” post and the moving end at the dash area of the “A” post you can effectively push the dash away from the driver’s compartment. You can also make a “V” cut into the base of the “B” post near the floorboard and place your hydraulic spreaders into the “V”.

This will push the dash up and away from the driver as well. The spokes of the steering ring can be cut if necessary, and some of your new cutters will even cut the steering column. (Check with the manufacturer before attempting this technique) Seats can be pushed with the ram or cut with a reciprocating saw or hydraulic cutters.


As you can see, a lot of the techniques are the same as with standard vehicles. Our big problem is we can be working with tremendous loads and weights. Good stabilization is critical when working large truck extrications. You may also have situations where large trucks have come to rest on smaller vehicles.

These trucks will have to be lifted in order to extricate your victims from the smaller vehicle. Several types of air bags are available for this type of lifting. If using the high pressure pillow bags, it may require a lot of cribbing to get the height you need. If using the RT high pressure bags, they can be locked in place and stacked more than two high.

Read the other parts of this column:
- Big Truck Extrication – Part 1: Anatamy 101
- Big Truck Extrication – Part 2: Assessment and Stabilization