The 2015 Ford Raptor pickup truck is yet another example of a vehicle having rear-hinged rear doors. Instead of the typical design where the rear doors are attached to the B-pillar, the Raptor’s rear doors open rearward.
As a trained responder, we must be able to recognize this design as we approach a crash scene. Making sure the participants in our vehicle rescue classes are not only capable of recognizing this design but are also able to open a jammed rear-hinged door. The reality for us is that we most likely will be training on vehicles with the more common forward-hinge design.
On pages 55 & 56 of the Vehicle Rescue 1-2-3 book, the step-by-step procedure for setting up and opening up a jammed rear door when it is this design is fully explained. This skill is considered as an NFPA 1670 Operations-level competency.
A successful attack on a jammed rear-hinged door actually begins with the front door. This is due to the fact that since there is not a fixed B-pillar, the rear door actually latches directly to the front door. Since the rear door latches along the top roofrail area as well as low along the rocker, both of these areas must be attacked before the door will open.
Vehicle Rescue 1-2-3 explains that the front door should be forced open first and then the upper portion of the jammed rear-hinged door, actually the window/door frame, is severed in two places. These cuts in the window frame detach the door from the top latch. At that point, the rear door is forced open by attacking the bottom latch along the rocker. Vehicle 1-2-3 explains and shows a best practice
technique for attacking this bottom latch.
Even without a rear-hinged door vehicle to cut apart in a training exercise, participants in a rescue class can have the necessary steps explained to them so that they understand what actions to take if they encounter a rear-hinged rear door that is jammed at a crash scene. This is not a new design. There have been rear-hinged rear door on vehicles for many years.
The challenge for rescuers is to be just as capable at forcing opening this door design if it were jammed as you are at attacking doors with the front-hinge design.