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Vehicle: Car: Safety: Crash
Airbag Disarmer   (+3)  [vote for, against]
A key for firefighters to disarm non-deployed airbags

A great risk to life and limb when cutting people from crashed cars is the detonation of the un-deployed airbags. As cars get more and more airbags, this becomes more of an issue. Most are powered by a large capacitor, so just turing off the ignition and/or disconnecting the battery will still leave them in a dangerous state for up to 25 minutes.

This key will discharge the capacitors when insterted into the socket which should be mounted as close to the centre of the car as possible in order to stay intact post impact. Except in the case ot the most extreme impacts, it should be possible for a fire-fighter to reach in, insert the key and thus deactivate all the bags, making it much easier to chop the car up.
-- oneoffdave, Apr 09 2003

Airbag Info http://members.trip...ireservice/id47.htm
Basic post accident airbag info. [oneoffdave, Oct 20 2004]

Airbag Disarmer http://www.bandwidt.../7/20020084636.html
Seems I've been beaten to it. This was filed on 30th Aug 2001. [oneoffdave, Oct 20 2004]

I'm surprised the airbags haven't already deployed in the crash - is this a common problem?

I was wondering if you could solve this by providing the emergency services with an air bag stapler, that would nailgun the things shut, but I suspect the impact of the staples might set the airbag off, and possibly make the situation worse.
-- DrCurry, Apr 09 2003

Surprisingly common, particularly in oblique impacts. Often in head-ons, the front airbags will deploy but not the side ones. On more than one occasion the airbag has deployed during the extrication, killing the victim and injuring the rescuer.
-- oneoffdave, Apr 09 2003

From [Jutta]'s first link it seems that a US fire-fighter has already suggested such a system. Looks like I need to improve my searching skills. The fire-fighters in the UK that I know all follow the 5-10-20 rule and are starting to do what are known as halo cuts when needing to take the roof off of a vehicle, as opposed the the 'traditional' chops at A, B and C pillars.
-- oneoffdave, Apr 09 2003

Admittedly, I'm for the idea. But I can't help but imagine that, even in the center of the car/dashboard/whatever, there's still too high of a chance it will be damaged... even if it's the wiring for it. If the integrity of the device can be maintained, it's danged capitol!
-- Bowner42, Apr 09 2003

This is a very clever, basic improvement.
-- DadManWalking, Feb 06 2004

random, halfbakery