As the steel industry continues developing advanced steel grades to meet automaker, consumer and industry safety standards, it's also focusing on another key audience: the first responders who are encountering new vehicle structures made of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) at accident sites.
To address and provide guidance on this critical issue, the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), has developed an educational video to help first responders understand, prepare and be equipped to cut through these new, stronger steel grades.
The video, available on SMDISteel's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/smdisteel), discusses the need for optimized cutting equipment to allow first responders to quickly and efficiently enter vehicles and help save lives. SMDI hopes the video, which demonstrates how the newest generation of hydraulic rescue equipment can cut through AHSS effectively and easily, will serve as an educational tool and increase awareness of the new rescue and extrication techniques available.
"With the number of fatalities declining per year as crash standards and the amount of AHSS in vehicles has grown, steel has helped increase the safety of today's drivers and passengers," Ron Krupitzer, vice president, automotive market, SMDI, said. "In addition to developing the next generation of steel technologies to keep society safe on the road, SMDI is committed to educating first responders on how to effectively do their job of saving lives when confronted with these new steel grades. This involves raising awareness of new extrication techniques and tools, such as high-power versions of the hydraulic shears required to cut through AHSS found in today's vehicles."
According to Ron Moore, retired battalion chief and training officer, McKinney Texas Fire Department, and an expert in extrication techniques, while AHSS helps keep passengers safe in the event of an accident, rescue workers are increasingly reporting difficulty in cutting through common structural areas, such as the B-pillars, of late model vehicles containing advanced steel grades. With more than 200 vehicle rescue techniques available, first responders need the latest information and tools to meet their goal of successful occupant extrication.
In the video, Moore leads trained personnel from the Livonia, Mich. Fire Department through an extrication demonstration taped at the 2012 Great Designs in Steel seminar. State Farm® donated a 2011 Nissan Altima that features AHSS from the mirror through the A-pillar across the roof rail and down the B-pillar for the event. Rescue workers removed the driver and passenger doors, as well as the roof, using the higher-power equipment.
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 25 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI's member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.
The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new growth opportunities in emerging steel markets.
SMDI investors include:
- AK Steel Corporation
- ArcelorMittal Dofasco
- ArcelorMittal USA LLC
- Nucor Corporation
- Severstal North America Inc.
- ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC
- United States Steel Corporation