8 Tips for Safely Deploying Tire-Deflation Devices

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A Dane County (Wis.) Sheriff's deputy is struck and seriously injured while deploying a tire deflation device.

If you're going to deploy a TDD, keep these important points in mind:

1. Get out of the road and out of the danger zone! The common denominator with virtually all deaths associated with TDD deployment is this: The officer was standing on or near the roadway.

2. Have a plan and a barricade: An off-the-road patrol car is the absolute minimum you should even consider and even that is of minimal benefit against a high-speed vehicle. Get behind a bridge abutment, guard rail, very large tree, etc.

3. Time is the critical element: You must have enough time to set up properly, deploy and then get to a position of cover and safety. If you run out of time, abort the effort. A last minute, unplanned deployment is likely to go badly and could result in your death.

4. Misjudging the speed and distance of the approaching car can be deadly: A vehicle going 75 mph is traveling 110 feet per second. A 100 mph car is covering the distance of a football field in two seconds.

5. Do not assume that the vehicle will continue in a straight line: Many bad guys panic and swerve at the last minute when they see the spikes on the road. An out of control car is just as deadly as a bullet.

6. Practice, practice, practice, and do it before you have to do it for real: Understand how the device works, how much distance and reaction time is needed. DO NOT simply watch a manufacturer video and consider yourself trained.

7. Use extra caution when considering nighttime deployment: The ability to judge speed and distance of a vehicle at night is dramatically less.  

8. Finally, remember that no pursuit is worth your life: When it comes to TDD deployment, if in doubt DON’T! You’ll have another opportunity to get the guy. That’s just how it works in the world of policing. 

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