When first responders arrive at motor vehicle accident they need to establish their plan of attack. Using a proper assessment acronym like WTF (Wires, Tires, and Fires) when tackling a motor vehicle incident will help firefighters make educated decisions and lead to a safer more successful outcome.
WTF or Wires, Tires, and Fires is a simple way to remember of assessing a motor vehicle accident. Starting with Wires the first responder should look for loose wires, cables. Although we say wires we are looking for an external factor that will become an obstacle later.
With Tires, we want to count the number of tires touching the ground. The more tires on the ground the less stabilization we will need. The goal of counting tires is to give us a rough assessment on how stable the vehicle is and give us a head start on how we plan on stabilizing the vehicle.
Finally, we locate the fires in the vehicle and parts of the vehicle that could become a fire risk. It’s important at this point to locate the fuel cell on the vehicle and make sure it isn’t leaking. At this stage, we want to get as much information about the fuel in the cell as possible, such as is the fuel flammable or combustible is the cell leaking.
Once we have finished going over Wires, Tires, and Fires it is time to stabilize the vehicle. We do this by locating the vehicle’s center of gravity and establishing which way the vehicle is leaning. The goal is to give us a safe space for us to work.
Every situation will be different but generally, stabilization starts with step chock and cribs. While there are a variety of step chocks and cribs available Turtle Plastic’s cribs, step chocks, and wedges are made from 100 recycled material and are lightweight and durable. It’s important when placing the chock to come in from the ends of the vehicle, away from the collapse zone. After the chocks have been setup we want to add wedges to fill in the gaps between the vehicle and the chocks. Super Cribs provide more stability from a Single crib rather than having to build large boxed cribs.
Having the proper tools only get you so far, proper awareness and adaptation will always be the biggest factors in succeeding in motor vehicle incidents. Using a proper assessment acronym like WTF (Wires, Tires, and Fires) when tackling a motor vehicle incident will help firefighters make educated decisions and lead to a safer more successful outcome.
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