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Jul 17

Deployment Of Airbags For Training

Fuller Deployment System

As Instructors, we all know how valuable it can be to deploy airbags for the participants of our classes.  This simple demonstration reveals the intensity of airbags, and helps firefighters understand the hazards that SRS can present at a motor vehicle accident.  Unfortunately, not all airbag deployment demonstrations are done safely.  In this training, we will discuss safe and effective practices for airbag deployment.

I recently taught a course in Denver, CO where a participant furnished an airbag deployment system, which he created,  that provided a safe ignition source for this valuable training.  We called this system the “Fuller Deployment System”.  Below, Mr. Fuller has provided instructions and a simple schematic so you can build one for your trainings.  All components can be purchased at Radio Shack for around $20. Using the device in training proved to be safe and effective.

Mr. Fullers contribution is printed in RED

Fuller Deployment System

  • Parts List ( All parts can be found at Radio Shack )

    • Project box   5×2.5×2

    • Speaker wire red/black double wire (20’ min.)

    • 1 each red and black alligator clips

    • 1 SPST momentary Pushbutton Switch ( Red )

    • 1 SPST toggle switch

    • 1 grommet 3/8 ( Rubber)

    • 1 snap connector 9V

    • 1 battery 9v

    • 1 Velcro strip 1”

     First, you must drill 3 holes in the project box.  The first hole is for the toggle switch and is a ½” hole in the center, on the face of the box 1 ¼” from the bottom (see diagram).  The second hole is for the push-button switch and is a ½” hole in the center on the face of the box 3” from the bottom (see diagram).  The third hole is a 3/8” hole in the center of the top end of the box for the wires to come out of.  Install both switches and the grommet. 

     Cut 3” off the end of your 20’ wire.  Insert the wire through the grommet in the end of the box.  Tie a knot in the wire approx 5’ from the end you just put through the grommet and pull it back towards the grommet so it is snug against the grommet on the inside.  This knot will keep the wire from being pulled out of the box accidently.  The 5” of wire needs the red and black to be split apart up to the knot. 

      Solder the Pos. (Red) wire of the 9v Snap connector to one of the terminals on the toggle switch.  Take the 3” wire you cut off the end of your 20’ wire and split the red and black.  Take the red wire and solder it from the second terminal on the toggle switch to one of the terminals on the push-button.  Take the red 5” wire with the knot in it and solder it to the other terminal of the push-button.  Solder the 5” black wire with the knot in it to the 9v snap connector neg. (black) wire (see diagram for schematic).  At the end of the 20’ wire tie a knot 10” from the end and split the red and black wire to the knot.  Solder the red alligator clip on the red wire and the black alligator clip to the black wire.  

     Attach one side of your Velcro to the 9v battery and the other side to the bottom plate of the project box.  Plug the 9v battery to the 9v snap connector and attach the battery to the bottom plate.  Attach the bottom plate to the project box with screws provided.

     You must test and label your toggle switch.  Hold both alligator clips to your tongue.  Flip the toggle switch one direction and push the red button.  If you feel an electrical sting that is the ARMED side, and label it.  IF you do not feel an electrical sting that is the DISARMED side, and label it.  Label the opposite side with the corresponding label.  Flip the toggle switch and make sure it works the opposite.   Make sure that you do not get an electrical sting in the disarmed position.  If you do not like the orientation of the labels you can rotate the toggle switch 180 degrees.  Label the push-button FIRE.    


Here are a few pointers on safe deployment of airbags

– Be sure to disconnect the 12 volt battery before interacting with any SRS components

– Never deploy an airbag outside of a vehicle with the bag pointing down (this ensures that the bag never becomes airborne)

– In training, all airbags should be deployed in each vehicle before training operations on the vehicle begin

– When deploying bags within the vehicle, be sure to clear all debris that may become a projectile before deployment

– When deploying dual phase airbags one stage at a time, be sure that the bag has completely cooled before wiring the second phase as the heat from the first deployment can ignite the second phase unexpectedly

– When Working around undeployed bags, keep an appropriate distance from the bags

– Before deploying any bag make sure that all personnel are aware that a bag will be deployed

– Deployment should be counted down by announcement “Deployment of Front Drivers Bag (or whatever bag is being deployed)  in 3, 2, 1”

– All participants should wear full PPE during airbag demonstrations!

– Only properly trained personnel should deploy airbag

Complete Airbag deployment training is presented in all of the Advanced Extrication Train the Trainer Programs. In these trainings participants are taught how to locate the wiring for ALL types of airbags, how to properly wire bags, safe deployment devices, and more!