Kimberly Houk reporting Soaring gasoline prices are fueling alternate sources once again. Hybrid Cars, in particular.
These cars run on less gasoline. But, more electricity. And its that-electricity that poses a risk for emergency workers.
Using the jaws of life to extricate victims from crashed cars is now causing some concern for rescue workers.
Some hot new cars have hit the market in the past couple of years. One that runs on a battery that packs more than 40-times the punch of a standard car battery.
Ken Aldridge Salt Lake County Firefighter: “There's a great danger with these new vehicles for firefighters and the victims inside. "
Hybrid cars come with a network of high voltage circuitry, and every automobile company makes their hybrid models different.
“Then we've got to go into phase two, and make sure we disable the high voltage system "
Salt Lake City rescue workers are training extensively on the different wiring systems of each car. They have to master the area of the car where it's safe to cut... and learn which areas to avoid.
Capt. Mike Ulibarri, Salt Lake County Fire Dept.: “We don't touch anything that's bright orange. "
On hybrid models, the high-power cables are colored bright orange to catch the eye of emergency crews. Instead of cutting into the car's door...
Capt. Mike Ulibarri, Salt Lake County Fire Dept.: “Plenty of electricity there to kill someone."
Rescue workers are taught to peel off the roof to safely get to victims. At this point, they also look to see if they can get to the car's key... creating a safer situation if they can turn the car off. Something that's not always possible after a car has been in a bad collision. And if they can't get to the key, they have to find another way to turn off the electricity coarsing through the car.
Mike Bohling Salt Lake County Fire Dept.: ”The new vehicles have different places were you can shut off the high voltage to eliminate the threat."
It's the constant training on what to do, that's keeping rescue workers here in Salt Lake City safe.
New air- bag options ... are also causing concern for emergency crews ... because, of the potential for the airbags to inflate, while rescue workers are extricating victims.