IFSJ Exclusive: Under the hood with Euro NCAP

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IFSJ talks to Euro NCAP to find out more about the Euro Rescue App

Euro NCAP recently launched the Euro Rescue App: an app downloadable freely which provides Rescue Sheets and Emergency Response Guides for vehicle emergencies.

A Rescue Sheet is a standardised summary page containing all the crucial information rescuers need to carry out occupant extrication quickly of a vehicle involved the scene of an intervention for road rescue or a vehicle fire. It can be used both online and offline, allowing rescuers to access the information even when there is little or no network coverage at the scene of the crash.

This information includes the location of components (e.g. airbags and pre-tensioners) and high-voltage electrical cables and batteries, all of which could present a hazard to trapped occupants and to the rescuers themselves. Manufacturer emergency response guides contain more detailed instructions to educate and assist first responders during training and are particularly important for alternative fuel vehicles.

App development

The work on the app began in 2012 through a proposal, based mainly on examples from France and Germany, on a standardised layout of the Rescue Sheets insert card for passenger vehicles and light commercial transport vehicles.

The project was formalised in 2014 and the was completed in 2019. ISO 17840 also includes a system of placards for exterior marking of fuel types for buses and other heavy vehicles, including new propulsion types like electric vehicle, hybrids and various types of compressed or liquid natural gas propulsion.

So far 200,000 first responders have downloaded the Euro Rescue app for smartphones in Europe since the launch in June of 2020, meaning 1400 Rescue Sheets designed according to the ISO 17840 standard have been made available to European first responders. The International Association of Fire and Rescue Services (CTIF) has been instrumental in the conception of these Rescue Sheets which help make all road rescue and extrication work safer.

IFSJ sat down with Euro NCAP to find out about the new digital solution.

Can you give me an overview of Euro NCAP – who are you and what do you do?

Euro NCAP provides consumers with an independent assessment of the safety level of the most popular cars sold in Europe. Through a range of tests including crash tests, that monitor adult occupant, child occupant, pedestrian protection and a range of new technologies, this non-profit organisation can offer an up-to-date and a realistic picture of a new car’s safety performance. Tests take place in a network of labs throughout Europe with results monitored by independent inspectors.

Euro NCAP was established in 1997, is supported by eight European Governments, motoring and consumer organisations in every European country and is working closely with automakers in their pursuit of a high star rating. In this way, Euro NCAP has become a catalyst for encouraging significant safety improvements to new car design.

What is the Euro Rescue App and why was it developed?

The Euro Rescue App was developed in close collaboration with manufacturers and through the testing process to provide an accurate picture of the vehicle and its equipment that can be referenced by firefighters and rescue workers at the scene of a car crash. The app became available in 2020.

How does the app work?

Easily accessible, the app provides up-to-date rescue sheets with a technical drawing of the relevant car with its appropriate equipment and design that can be easily downloaded by rescue workers on the move.

How has it evolved over its lifespan?

Euro NCAP has incorporated the Rescue sheets as part of its testing programme. Car manufacturers are rewarded with points to their overall scores when they provide the rescue sheets. This means that they can potentially lose points in their overall rating scores if they don’t provide them in the appropriate format.

Why is it useful for firefighting teams?

It is very useful for firefighters and rescue workers as they can understand very quickly potential risk scenarios, for example in the case that airbags have not gone off or the location of a battery to prevent the risk of fire. Ultimately it is about ensuring that those involved in an accident or trapped in a vehicle can be extricated quickly.

What plans do you have to develop the app further?

Formally the rescue sheets were available in four languages (EN FR DE SP), however from 2023 Euro NCAP will insist on the rescue sheets being made available by manufacturers in all European languages. Some manufacturers are suggesting the use of QR codes to make access to this information even faster.

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