What to do when vehicles are locked in a smoke-filled tunnel?

A recurring question from our course participants is: «What should we do if we come across locked vehicles in a smoke-filled tunnel during a search?» Our Didactics and Development Team has discussed the question and recommends: «Make yourself noticeable. If there is no response from the vehicle: Do not open it and search the next vehicle.»

Not all drivers follow the recommendations for tunnel users

The Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) and many rescue organisations expressly recommend that drivers leave the ignition key in the ignition and leave the vehicle respectively, the tunnel immediately in the event of a fire in a road tunnel. However, the firefighters cannot rely on obedience to the recommendation. They may also find vehicles whose doors are locked - for whatever reason.

Use standard procedure as far as possible

The standard procedure is also carried out as far as possible in these cases. It begins with a visual inspection, insofar as this is possible under the given conditions. If people are discovered, they are rescued. If no persons are visible, the standard procedure for unlocked vehicles is to scan the interior by hand and with a search stick.

Acoustically draw attention

When dealing with locked vehicles, our Didactics and Development Team recommends that the searching party draw the attention of any people in the vehicle by knocking and shouting. If there is no reaction, there is a low probability of people in the car. Therefore, to avoid wasting time unnecessarily, the vehicle should not be opened by force, but other vehicles should be searched quickly.

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