During a training class several weeks ago, my shift had the opportunity to cut up a small car. We used a combination tool with a truck-mounted hydraulic pump unit and hose reel, and located our pressure manifold near the vehicle. We began by removing the roof, cutting the A, B and C posts on our hatch-backed car. This all proceeded without any unusual incident, and we proceeded to remove the driver and passenger-side doors.
Once the doors were off, we discussed “rolling the dash”. My initial cut was not deep enough, so I backed out and repositioned for a second cut. As I started the second cut, I heard a loud hiss and felt pressure against my right upper groin and stomach. I also saw a “mist” appear in front of me. My instructor immediately yelled for me to let go and back away, information that took about an extra second to process and comply with. As I moved back, the tool stayed in place and I saw a stream of hydraulic fluid spraying from the hose, just behind the handle. At that point, the other members of my shift were converging to make sure I was O.K. After a quick check, I ensured them (and myself) that I was not injured, and began a more thorough inspection of my gear. I was wearing full turnout gear, a helmet and goggles, and firefighting gloves. My bunker pants absorbed the majority of the impact just to the right of the fly and zipper, on the front of my right hip and groin area. My bunker coat was also saturated in hydraulic fluid around the lower right side, with a large amount on my right sleeve and shoulder. My helmet was covered in droplets, and my goggles were completely covered.When I looked at the rescue tool, I noted that the damage was contained to a small hole probably less than 1/16″ in size. The force of the fluid coming from this hole was enough to feel like someone pushing hard into my side. Had I not been wearing the safety gear, it surely would have penetrated my uniform and severely injured me.