Make Sure You Cut the Correct Battery Cable!

In an attempt to secure the battery of a vehicle involved in an MVA, we cut the positive cable. While moving the two ends of the cable away from each other the battery shorted out and exploded. This sprayed battery acid all over the upper body of my firefighter and the left side of myself. Acid got in his eyes and mouth and on the rest of his face, top of his head and arms. He even felt like he inhaled some of the mist. The cable was cut because we were unable to access either terminal to disconnect them.

Lessons Learned: There were a few that were learned and/or sternly reinforced: First, accurately assess the need to disconnect the battery in the first place. The patient had self extricated and we were merely securing the battery to prevent a potential problem. Second, wear full PPE including eye pro and helmet; regrettably, we did not. Third, always, always, always disconnect the negative first, and if you can’t access it leave the battery alone!