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Car Safety Innovations Make Rescues Tricky For First Responders

By David Madden

AMBLER, Pa. (CBS) - When you hear about someone being rescued after being trapped in their car, consider this: those rescues are not as easy as they used to be. Just ask first responders who have to deal with new car technology.

For one, cars are built to better withstand crashes. Sounds okay, until you consider how to rescue someone who's trapped inside a car. Stephen Blodgett, a battalion chief with the Wissahickon Fire Company, knows all about that first hand.

"The old Jaws of Life has been updated to a more powerful unit to let us get into the vehicles with the stronger steels and other metals that are being used."

Hybrids also present their own problems. There's no standard to make them. One wrong move and a rescuer could cut into a powerful electric wire putting the person trapped in the car and that rescuer in danger.

"We do have books in some of our trucks that details those types of technologies in each manufacturer's vehicle," so they know where (and where not) to cut.

It's all a matter of training as Blodgett sees things, and he for one is glad car companies consult with first responders when they design vehicles these days.

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