Rescue crews and emergency workers across Australia – including police and the fire brigade – will soon have access to a smartphone app that will show the fastest and safest way to cut open cars involved in life-threatening crashes.
It means rescue workers will have access to technical diagrams and critical information for hundreds of cars in a matter of seconds, saving critical time that could end up saving lives.
The skeleton diagrams pinpoint hidden dangers such as high voltage battery cables in electric or hybrid cars, highlight the different types of steel used in the body structure, and identify the best places to cut open a crashed car in the least amount of time.
The smartphone app is being compiled by Australia’s crash test safety authority – the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) – with the help of most car companies who are supplying the data free of charge. It will be available to download from mid-year.
Until now, only a handful of car companies have provided similar digital tools to emergency workers.
At the time the company offered to fit the labels free of charge to all Mercedes cars dating back to 1990.
Last year, Hyundai began sticking QR codes on the top right corner of the windscreens of its hybrid and electric models.
In the example of Mercedes and Hyundai cars, emergency workers would need to open a QR code app on their smartphone or tablet and scan the label on the vehicle.
WIth the new app being developed by ANCAP, once a vehicle is identified by first responders, emergency workers will be able to look up the critical data while en-route to the crash scene, so they will know where to start cutting as soon as they arrive.
The app will be available to download free of charge and will operate on smartphones and tablets.
It will include the official “rescue sheets” or “rescue cards” for hundreds of vehicles on Australian roads, not only current models.
Examples of the hazards that emergency workers need to avoid when cutting open a car include hybrid and electric-car batteries and high voltage cables, the location and type of pyrotechnics used in the various airbags throughout each vehicle, and the exact location of seat belt pre-tensioners (in the roof pillars or floor or both).
This level of detail is in addition to an X-ray view of each car’s body structure so emergency workers know the best place to gain easy access to trapped persons.
Once it is launched, the app will also be available for the public to download.