Italian fire press writes about CTIF´s and Euro NCAP´s efforts in road rescue and vehicle safety
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The 2023 Euro NCAP program to support safety
Our valued member Marco Aimo-Boot recently had this article published in the Italian fire industry magazine Rescue Press, and describes the efforts and cooperation of CTIF and EuroNCAP in working to improve road rescue safety and vehicle safety.
The safety quality of a vehicle is no longer only linked to its ability to absorb energy during a collision. Today vehicles are safe if they prevent an accident, but above all if after the accident the rescuers can safely and easily access the injured person, to treat them appropriately.
Author: Marco Aimo-Boot, Associate Member of CTIF International Association of Fire and Rescue Services) and Tertiary Safety expert.
Fire Rescue Press is a journal that brings together news, scientific insights and high-level training courses for rescue services. It's not only dedicated to fire press, but for the emergency services.
Vehicle safety represents a challenge that involves the entire transport and mobility sector with the primary aim of safeguarding the lives of occupants and road users. For example, passive safety systems have the prerogative of protecting the occupants during an impact through the installation of absorption zones or restraint systems. Recently, thanks to the introduction of advanced driver assistance technologies, accident prevention has become a crucial aspect of safety, with systems that help the driver to stay in the lane, to maintain the appropriate speed, up to emergency braking in the in the event that the driver's response to a fixed or moving obstacle is not reactive enough to avoid a collision.
Post-accident safety, so-called "tertiary safety", plays a key role in improving the level of survival following road accidents by providing, for example, through the Rescue Sheets, the information useful to rescuers to perform extrication operations safely and more quickly than to a vehicle whose technical characteristics that necessarily impact rescue maneuvers are not known. Increasingly, rescue services require easily understandable detailed information on individual vehicles to extract trapped occupants as quickly and safely as possible. This need is becoming more and more prevalent for latest generation vehicles equipped with advanced systems and functions.
The Fire Brigade alongside the Euro NCAP safety programmes
The CTIF (International Association of Fire and Rescue Services), an international association representing 5 million firefighters and experts in the field, operates precisely with the aim of supporting rescue operators. The CTIF supports and promotes the Euro NCAP program which recently introduced significant advances for emergency services in its strategic plan. The European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), in Italian acronym of "European program for the assessment of new car models", is responsible for defining the methods for assessing the safety of vehicles through the introduction and use of specific test protocols, in such a way as to be able to offer the consumer harmonized information, providing a reliable guide in the safest choice for the individual needs of each user.
The Euro NCAP 2023 plan provides for the definition of evaluation criteria for safety stars, including many aspects concerning tertiary safety described in a specific protocol. In order to continue its action to improve road user safety, Euro NCAP has already launched this year a consultation to define future requirements for the years 2025-2030. Tertiary safety will play an important role and will take into account the recommendations collected by the CTIF on behalf of all the Fire Brigade members of the Association. On the CTIF side, the "Extrication and New Technology" Commission is involved, whose role of "project leader" is entrusted to Michel Gentilleau (France), who works in close collaboration with Euro NCAP officials, in particular with Pierre Castaing (ex president of Euro NCAP) who leads the specific working group on tertiary safety. Michel Gentilleau is joined by Joerg Heck (Germany) and Wolfgang Niederauer (Austria), also members of the Extrication and New Technology Commission of the CTIF. The main contents of the Euro NCAP program which have a direct impact on first responders are:
Implementation of the Emergency Response Guides (ERG) Rescue Sheets
The Rescue Sheets will be made available to Euro NCAP in PDF format and will comply with the ISO 17840 standard (part 1, maximum 4 pages, with harmonized and standardized symbols). From the beginning of 2023, the rescue cards already available in 4 languages (French, English, German and Spanish), will have to be translated into all the languages of the countries that recognize the Euro NCAP test and its applications, i.e. into 22 languages. These implementations aim to make available to first responders, in particular through the Euro Rescue application (APP), all the operational decision support documents (directly in the field or in the moments preceding the arrival in the accident scenario).
Automatic unlocking of the doors
From 2023 onwards, tests will verify that the doors automatically unlock after an impact in the event of an accident. This measure is intended to allow the occupants to quickly move away from the vehicle and also to facilitate access to the victims for rescuers.
Door opening forces
The door opening forces after the impact will be measured after two frontal impact tests and only the side impact forces will be affected. This measure is intended to facilitate the opening of the doors like the previous one.
Additional requirements for power or retractable door handles
In 2023, tests will ensure that all side door handles are accessible and usable immediately after testing (extended and ready to open). This is to facilitate the opening of the doors from the outside after an accident, without the need for rescue personnel to operate an opening device or to connect an external power source. Also in this case it is a question of facilitating access to the occupants from the outside without the need for special tools.
Seat belt buckle release
The aim is to ensure that the seat belt can be unlocked to allow the occupants to evacuate from the vehicle after impact. This measure has the purpose of facilitating the release of the belts directly by the occupants themselves after a collision (even if the belts are tensioned).
Identification of energy neutralizing devices
Securing/deactivating energy on board vehicles (high voltage, compressed or liquid gas, etc.) is a major challenge for the safe execution of rescue operations. In response to the increasing number of different vehicle manufacturers' instructions on de-energizing and the absence of harmonized procedures, it is necessary to introduce common markings to help rescuers during de-energizing operations. In order to orient the first responders who intervene, it is required to apply stickers/labels on the devices involved. A firefighter's helmet (International Generic Model) indicates that safety equipment can be handled by rescue personnel. A further pictogram indicates the type of system used to isolate the energy involved (manual valve, fuse, MSD, etc.), the background color of the pictogram refers to the nature of the energy (electricity, H2, LPG, etc.) . Finally, a symbol that represents the specific energy isolation device and the operations to be performed. This measure is intended to protect rescuers from the risks associated with energy on board and vehicles (electrocution, intoxication, gas ignition, etc.). Rescuers will have to get used to recognizing these pictograms.
What is the CTIF?
The CTIF (International Association of Fire and Rescue Services), founded in 1900 in Paris as "Comité Technique International de prevention et d'extinction de Feu", has the objective of encouraging and promoting cooperation between the Fire Brigades and other Fire & Rescue experts around the world.
The CTIF develops comprehensive global fire statistics by publishing annual reports that offer data on fire issues from 80 different countries and 90 capital cities globally. The CTIF organizes international conferences and competitions in which more than 3,000 firefighters from all over the world participate.
CTIF officially has millions of members in 39 countries from Europe, North America and Asia. About 50 member organizations are also involved. Through its members, the CTIF represents 5 million firefighters who protect the daily lives of approximately one billion people. For further information, visit the CTIF website.
What is EuroNCAP?
Euro NCAP organizes crash tests and safety tests on new vehicles and provides automotive consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of Europe's best-selling cars. Established in 1997 and supported by several European governments, automotive, consumer and insurance organisations, Euro NCAP has quickly become a catalyst for encouraging significant safety improvements in new car design.
For further information, visit the EuroNCAP website