A new smartphone app will help emergency crews rescue people trapped in crashed cars .
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A database of 500 new and used cars – with instructions on how to cut them open after a crash – is now only a fingertip away for emergency services and could save lives by saving valuable seconds.

ANCAP Rescue is a new app produced by Australia’s crash test authority – the Australasian New Car Assessment Program – and is available free of charge to fire and rescue crews who need to find the fastest way to safely cut open a vehicle after a major incident.

Emergency services workers say the ANCAP Rescue app allows them to pinpoint critical dangers on individual vehicles – including on hybrid and electric cars – and identify the easiest way to extricate people trapped as a result of a crash.

“In the life and death environment that we’re working in, being able to get the casualties out of the cars quicker makes so much difference to the ultimate outcome to these people when they arrive in hospital,” said Clayton Allison, acting inspector of operational capability, Fire And Rescue NSW.

“Depending on the severity of the crash, it can take us 30 minutes to two hours to extricate someone from the vehicle. (The ANCAP Rescue app) will make it so much easier for us to be able to ensure the safety of the rescuers and the people involved in these incidents,” said Allison.

“This app allows us to identify those risks much more quickly and get to work in saving the people involved in these incidents.”

Available on smartphones and tablets, emergency crews can use the app to check the details of the crashed car on the way to the scene, or once they have properly identified the vehicle on arrival.

Some newer cars are also equipped with a barcode on the fuel filler door (or elsewhere on the vehicle) so emergency crews can scan the details using their phone or tablet and bring up the cutaway details immediately.

“What rescue crews need is a ready ... information source where we can find out exactly what we're likely to encounter when we arrive,” said Allison.

“Before this app came along, we had to take some time before we could put any tools on the car. We had to go through the vehicle, identify hazards, open up boots and bonnets and identify how to isolate the power, particularly in hybrid vehicles.”

The ANCAP Rescue ‘cards’ – which show cutaway diagrams and pinpoint electrical hazards – are produced by vehicle manufacturers and supplied to ANCAP, which uploads them onto the central app.

It is free to download for emergency services workers – and the motoring public.

When you download the app you are given the option to immediately download all 500 or so cars on file (in case you’re out of phone range in a regional area), or you can access each model as you need it.