COLOGNE, Germany – Freeing the occupants from a crashed vehicle as quickly as possible to deliver urgently required medical attention can make the difference between life and death.
Ford plays a key role in helping to make sure releasing any occupants happens as quickly as possible by working hand-in-hand with emergency services to ensure rescue crews can perfect their techniques on new vehicles before they have even gone on sale – and enabling them to communicate best practice to their counterparts across Europe.
Firefighters in Mönchengladbach, Germany, did exactly that after Ford provided them with its all-new B-MAX, a model that uses more high strength and ultra-high strength steels than any other European Ford and features the ingenious Ford Easy Access Door System with hinged front doors and sliding rear doors that integrate the central body pillars to provide unrivalled access for passengers and luggage.
“Ford goes to great lengths to ensure the occupants of its vehicles enjoy high levels of protection,” said Thilo Moerke, Ford Automotive Safety Office. “We also need to ensure that if a crash situation arises they can be released quickly and safely by emergency services.”
Chief Fire Officer Jörg Lampe of the Mönchengladbach Fire Brigade led the rescue team as they used hydraulic cutters, steel jaws and electric saws to identify the most effective means of prising open the vehicle.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a chance to see just how tough this new B-MAX really is,” said Lampe. “This is great experience. This vehicle isn’t even on the road yet, but already we know the best places to cut – and just as importantly, where not to cut.”
“We’ve never worked on a vehicle without a central B-pillar and I’m very impressed with how strong the structure is. We’ve learned a lot today, not just about the body work, but also about the location of the airbags and other systems – that can really help when we need to open up a vehicle.”
Dr Tim Heyne, a specialist in emergency medicine at University Hospital, Göttingen, Germany, said: “In a crash situation where you have seriously injured people trapped in a car that first hour is critical because this is when shock sets in.
“The quicker we can stabilise the casualty and get them out of the vehicle and into hospital the better. By working closely with Ford and having this opportunity to practice on unique vehicles such as the B-MAX before they actually go on sale, we can develop new extraction techniques that could potentially save lives.”
All-new Ford B-MAX was recently awarded the highest possible five-star safety rating by independent crash test authority Euro NCAP.