VEHICLE FIRES: Laminated Windows Becoming a Problem for Cops and Engine Companies…

Posted: December 18, 2018 in Uncategorized


Starting in 2018, most vehicles will be manufactured with passenger side laminated glass, rendering the halligan strike and hole punch useless. The rear windows might also be laminated, just like the windshield. Laminated glass has two layers of glass with a layer of plastic in the middle. This can be a major problem when a rapid rescue has to be executed.

Police officers and firefighters have saved many people trapped in burning cars by taking out tempered glass windows with striking tools, Mag lights, batons, and pulling people out through the window. That will not work anymore. This will also become an issue for vehicles under water.

This officer struck the window believing it would shatter like the more commonly encountered tempered glass does. This was a laminated side window which caused a delay in extricating the driver. Cutting laminated side windows with a potential victims head on the other side just inches from your tool has to be practiced. Plan some cutting and chopping time at the next extrication drill.

ALL ENGINE COMPANIES that do NOT have a Glas-master or Rhyno cutting tool should push for them. During vehicle fires these windows will not fail like tempered glass. A cutting tool may be needed to make a rapid rescue or make room for a hose stream directed into the vehicle. Another method is to use the blade of the axe or fork of the halligan to chop the window (do not strike the occupant!) and flap it down. Even a reciprocating saw will do the job, but may cause a delay. Use your next vehicle fire to practice cutting, chopping, sawing these laminated windows.

For police officers, consider the Glass Assault Tool.

Be sure to use a mask filter to prevent inhaling glass dust particles. For real time incidents, pull your Nomex hood up over your mouth and nose and wear safety glasses for respiratory and eye protection. 

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