Brake Pedal Displacement

Here’s another basic extrication technique for you to try at your next training.  It has everything to do with brake pedal displacement when a victims foot is entrapped.  For more on the old school techniques click here.

In many extrication classes the techniques of extricating a victim’s foot from the brake pedal focuses on cutting.  The ability to cut the brake pedal is dependent on if you have a hydraulic brake pedal cutter or reciprocating saw and more importantly if you have room for those tools.  Remember, you might just need an inch to get the victim out.  What is safest and fastest for the victim and the rescuers is key.  

Let’s think about the strength of the brake pedal assembly for a minute.  The design makes the strength great when the forces are applied by the driver in a downward direction when braking.  If we apply lateral forces towards the drivers side or the passenger side of the vehicle (depending on how the victim is trapped) the brake pedal structure can be weakened quickly.

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Most of our rigs have ratchet straps, which makes for a perfect tool  for this technique.  Always remember to check for airbags (knee, driver front, passenger front, torso, side-curtain, and door) and disable the power supply.  Do not put yourself in the airbag firing zone.


Attached one end of the ratchet strap to the brake pedal

Again, depending on which direction you need the pedal assembly to go will determine the direction of lateral pull.

Secure the ratchet to the B post and tension the system. Note the use of a J hook. Do you have them on your rigs?

The lateral force applied by a ratchet strap will displace the brake pedal upward and laterally.

Pass it on!