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This might be on topic here, so I'm going to ask it: If a car was hit by another one and responders needed access to it, what key parts should they be aware of the location when entering the vehicle?

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I would think my biggest concerns would be air bag deployment during extraction, electrocution from a hybrid battery, explosion of natural gas in a CNG powered vehicle. – mikes Jun 16 '13 at 1:31

I'd have thought it'd be anything that could cause a fire/explosion - Airbags, batteries and fuel tanks/lines.

The first thing you're going to want to do is cut off the fuel supply. On most cars, this is done off the ignition key, so that'd be your first target.

You don't mention whether you're talking about standard or modified cars - it's an easier question to answer with standard vehicles, as such locations can be readily identified in advance, and tend to be fairly predictable, wheras in a modified vehicle they might not be in the expected locations (for example, batteries might be located in the back of the car for improved weight distribution). Of course, if the vehicle was modified for competition use, there are strict rules regarding such components, including clearly marking the locations of battery cut-off switches and extinguisher triggers.

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Thanks to both of you for helping me out. I'm currently working on building a system for emergency responders to identify parts of the car quickly using a phone (like the system by Mercedes). I guess we'll have to deal with modified cars as well. – StackExchange User Jun 17 '13 at 15:53
  • Airbags if they were not deployed during the accident

    • You'll sometimes see the emergency teams disconnect the battery and wait ~15-20 minutes before beginning to cut into the vehicle. This is to ensure that there is no power going to the airbags.
  • Some vehicles, i.e. Hybrid, come with additional accessory batteries and high voltage batteries. These sometimes are not stored in the obvious locations.

  • Fuel Lines and also auxilary fuel tanks
  • If the team only has the "Jaws of Life" then they would not be able to cut through sections made of High Strength Steel.
    • Rocker Panels
    • A/B/C-Pillars
    • Roof Beams
    • Side Impact Beams, basically any main structural support.
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