On Wednesday September 1, 2010, Thorndale Firefighters gathered for a stabilization and lifting air bag training session. Captain Dan Donnachie reviewed how the air bags work, how to set them up, what the capabilities of the air bags are on Rescue 38, and safety concerns when conducting a lifting operation. Following the brief discussion, the Firefighters went to work stabilizing Brush 38 and preparing it to be lifted.
Firefighters placed box cribs at the front corners of the bumper and placed a stack of two air bags at each corner. A third box crib was built in the center of the bumper, which was used to stabilize the vehicle. As Brush 38 was lifted inch by inch, the box crib in the center was slowly added to making up the difference in the lift. Construction of this center box crib ensured that if an air bag were to fail, the load would not drop onto the patient if it were a real incident. Once Brush 38 was lifted, it was slowly dropped to the ground in a reverse order of operations.
Lifting air bags are used in rescue situations where people may be trapped under vehicles or between heavy objects. The air bags are small in profile to fit in tight spaces and have the ability to lift very heavy loads. The compliment of lifting air bags carried on Rescue 38 includes several sizes which can lift loads ranging from 1 ton to 74 tons.