Field Applications recently released v1.1 of its Hybrid Extrication Guide app, which now is updated to include all 2011 hybrid models with improved schematics from Moditech. Available for the iPhone, Android and iPad, the crash-rescue guide provides schematics that show the location of airbag sensors, high-voltage electrical lines, fuel, pistons, airbag cartridges and seatbelt pretensioners. To learn more about the app, FIRE CHIEF spoke with Cal Blake, the founder and a seasonal firefighter with CAL FIRE, about the apps’ development and how it can be used in the field.
How did you become involved in the fire service?
I started as a volunteer. Currently, I'm a seasonal firefighter with CAL FIRE in Mariposa County, Calif., near Yosemite. I love working here. Prior to that, I worked for several years as a paramedic in Fresno County (Calif.) EMS. It's a busy EMS system, including urban, rural and wilderness areas — even a large state prisons. I learned a lot there.
What was the motivation behind the Hybrid Extrication Guide app?
We were doing extrication training, and the instructors were lamenting the fact that there was no simple resource to explain the hazards in each vehicle. Something clicked in my head. I thought, "Why can't there be an ERG for cars?" If it's possible for hazmat, then it's possible for extrication.
How does the app work?
Simplicity and flexibility are crucial in rescue ops. We strictly adhere to the KISS philosophy: Keep It Super Simple. You open the app and find the hybrid you're cutting on. What you get is a schematic that shows the location of all the bad stuff, things that can pop, explode, shock or break your tool. (We don't tell you how to do it, because we know that there are many successful extrication techniques, and every situation is different.)
Where can it be downloaded?
It's available for most Android and Apple mobile devices. Because there are so many different devices, it's difficult to support absolutely every piece of hardware and operating system.
How much does it cost?
It's free and always will be.