By Lt. David Polikoff
Good Vehicle Stabilization is the key to a good extrication. There are many ways to stabilize a vehicle: air bags, cribbing, block and tackle, wench, come-along, air type shores and step shocks. In this article I will focus on step chocks. The reasons I like step chocks is because: they are cheap and easy to make, they can be carried on all apparatus, they are easy to use, and they are easy to replace if damaged. Later in this article I will give you the specs to make your own step chocks.
When you roll up on an accident and you have a car that has a person in it that is complaining of neck and back pain you should stabilize the vehicle. The reason you want to do this is to ensure that the person in the car will not be subject to further injury, also you are ensuring that the vehicle will not roll or move. This is all part of scene safety.
The use of the step chocks is very easy. There are 4 chocks they look like steps (refer to the photo below) the first 2 chocks go behind the front tires (one on the drivers and one on the passenger side) the last 2 chocks go in front of the rear tires (one on the drivers side and one on the passenger side). The object is to get the chocks under the vehicle as far as you can, this will ensure that the vehicle will be off the suspension thus not allowing the vehicle to move. You can lift up gently on the wheel wells to allow the chocks to slip in. Once all the chocks are in place the next step is to deflate all 4 tires. I recommend that you use a valve stem remover (see photo) Keep the valve stems in a safe place, you will need them to re-inflate the tires.
Now that the car is resting on the step chocks you can gain access to the car or use your rescue tool, and not worry about moving the vehicle and possibly compounding the injuries to the patient. Once the patient has been removed from the car you need to re inflate the tires so you can retrieve your chocks and allow the vehicle to be moved.
Remember that good vehicle stabilization is the key to a good extrication, and the over all safety for you as well as your patient.
It is very easy to fit the step chocks all four step chocks laid out The valve stem is the best
into a compartment tool to use to deflate tires
The following are the directions to make you own step chocks:
The best material to use is pressure treated pine wood.
the measurements are: the bottom piece of wood is 2x6 by 30" long then reduce each step by 6". for best results glue and screw each step together. once you are done you should have 5 steps in all. the last job to do, is to drill a hole into the top step through all 5 steps and insert a lag bolt. Counter sink top and bottom and tighten bolt at the top and the nut at the bottom. it is important that you countersink the lag bolt top and bottom, or it will not lay flat.