I picked up the phone and discovered that it was the ranger down the road. He said that he had found something interesting. Someone had gotten themselves stuck in their seat belt and had stopped by the state park to get help. He had just sent them our way.
Out in front of our station pulled up a small SUV. There were three women in it, a grandmother, mother and daughter. The young woman in back had decided to lay down to sleep while on their drive. Thinking 'safety first' she decided to wrap the seat belt around her waist in a manner similar (but more knotted) to the girl in the above photo. She then stretched out on the back seat.
When she awoke she sat back up. This is when she learned something about seat belts. When pulled all the way out, the seat belt pretensioner (#47 in the drawing below) will only allow the belt to retract (don't believe me, go try it out on your car). This is done so that the belt can be used to strap down car seats. When she sat up she unknowingly cinched the belt tight, trapping her.
Her mom and grandmother were good sports about the entire situation. They laughed and made fun of their daughter the entire time. We tried to slide, push, pull and contort this poor girl in every way imaginable to get her free. Once we exhausted our Tetris skills we decided something else would have to be done.
Using the vast knowledge of automotive design that all firefighters have (ok, I really just followed the belt until I found a bolt, #40 in this drawing, that I could take off) I found the point at which the seat belt bolts into the frame of the vehicle and decided that was our best course of action. Do you have any idea how long it takes to unbolt something like that when you can only turn the bolt 1/8 of a turn at a time.
A few minutes later we had our victim freed and and the vehicle put back together.
While looking for the picture of someone twisted up in the seat belt I noticed that almost all the videos and photographs of people that have been stuck are of women. I'm sure there's a joke in there some where, I'm just not sure I want to make it....