Emergency measures during a vehicle fire
A car fire is one of the most unexpected, dangerous situations on the road. Many car parts are made of flammable materials, so a fire can completely destroy a car in a few minutes. In addition, the driver and passengers are in mortal danger. Therefore, the car owner should understand the possible causes of a car fire and how to extinguish it. The main causes
To successfully prevent a car fire, you need to know the main causes of a fire. Statistically, the most likely cause of fires is a fuel leak. If it gets on the heated parts of the engine, it instantly flares up. A sign of gasoline leakage is the smell of it in the cabin, and if you smell it, you need to stop the car and make sure there are no gasoline stains on the engine. If there are, they need to be removed and the cause of the leak must be investigated.
Faulty wiring can also cause fire. The integrity of the insulation is compromised, causing the wire to overheat. If this damage is not corrected in time, there will be a short circuit, as a result of which the wiring can catch fire. That is why it is necessary to monitor the car’s electrical system, paying attention to the slightest malfunction in its operation, for example, unexpected battery discharge.
Excessive load on the engine may cause overheating of the car. Red-hot oil penetrates through the seams, gets on the cylinders and ignites. Therefore, do not use the machine at its maximum capacity.
Defects in the vehicle’s design, such as poorly positioned fuel tank or wiring, can also lead to a fire. It is not uncommon for a fire to occur as a consequence of an accident. An accident may cause fuel to leak and come into contact with hot engine parts. Therefore, it is a good idea to get out of the damaged vehicle as soon as possible, and then run away from it to a safe distance. As sad as it is to know, the car can also burn as a result of arson. In order to protect yourself from the actions of criminals, you should leave your car only at the guarded parking lot, install the alarm system, and make sure to insure the car.
Carelessness of a car owner can lead to fire. Various objects left under the hood overheat and can burst into flames. Therefore, you need to be careful not to forget to put away all unnecessary things.
Procedure for actions in case of a car fire
Every motorist must imagine in advance their actions in case of a fire in the car. Therefore, you should read the advice of experts who tell you what to do if your car catches fire.
If the car caught fire right on the road, you should immediately stop driving, pull over, put the car on the handbrake, evacuate the passengers, make sure they move to a safe distance, remove valuables and documents from the cabin.
If there is a fire in a vehicle that is in a garage, you must push it outside. The next step is to locate the seat of fire. If the flame bursts out from under the hood, you should not open it completely, because the influx of fresh air can intensify combustion and you can get severe burns. You just have to lift the lid a little and start extinguishing. The same rule also applies to extinguishing fires inside the cabin. A fire extinguisher can be used to fight the fire, and if it is not accessible, sand or a thick blanket is the way out. At the same time, ask one of the passengers or passersby to call the fire department.
Important: If you see that the flames have engulfed the gas tank, immediately step away from the car to a safe distance – at any second there may be an explosion.
As you know, the best protection from fire is its prevention. It is necessary to follow the simplest rules of fire safety, to monitor the serviceability of electrical wiring, fuel compartment of the engine, transport flammable substances only in tightly closed containers.
Also it is necessary to take care about serviceability of the fire extinguisher and beforehand to learn how to use it. A powder extinguisher is ideal for automotive use. They can extinguish any flammable substances, as well as electrical appliances under voltage. A cylinder with a capacity of up to two liters is enough for a passenger car. It is recommended to buy fire-fighting equipment only in special stores, checking the availability of documents. Be sure to monitor the expiration date of the fire extinguisher, recharge or replace it in time. Place the fire extinguisher so that you can easily access it in the event of an emergency.
Remember, your life is more valuable than your most expensive car, so if your attempts to extinguish the fire yourself have failed, leave the firefighting operations to the specialized firefighting services.
Actions in a Car Fire
It is not for nothing that patrol police officers insist on an annual technical inspection of all vehicles. The fact is that in such a confined space, even a small problem with the wiring can cause a fire, and in the worst case – lead to human casualties.
The actions of the driver and passengers in case of a fire in the car should be clear, coordinated and fast. Unfortunately, such troubles always occur unexpectedly, so it is necessary to get acquainted with the algorithm of actions for such case in advance.
Consecutive actions in case of fire in the car
The driver’s actions in case of fire will depend on the safety of people in the vehicle, as well as other road users (Fig. 1).
Figure 1: If a car caught on fire, you need to act quickly and without panic
Therefore, if the first signs of combustion appeared: the smell of smoke or gasoline, visual appearance of fire or smoke, it is necessary to stop the vehicle immediately. Then it is necessary to stop the engine and take the key out of the lock.
Next, you must put the vehicle on the handbrake, remove the terminals from the battery and exit the vehicle. If the doors are blocked, break a window and escape through it. You can try to put out a small fire yourself with a fire extinguisher, but if the fire is spreading and has reached the area of the gas tank, you should immediately leave the car and move 10-15 meters away from it. After that you should immediately call the fire brigade.
Design features of the vehicle
Every part of the vehicle is designed to prevent fire as much as possible. However, due to driver negligence or malfunction, a fire can still occur.
More often than not, a fire starts in the wiring, so it is extremely important to have regular preventive maintenance and check that the wiring is in good working order.
In addition, the vehicle is enclosed and in case of fire it becomes a red-hot tin can. If you do not take evacuation measures in time and do not leave the vehicle, you can be seriously injured. That is why it is necessary to carefully study the actions for such an event.
The main causes of fire
If the driver has taken proper care of the vehicle and regular preventive maintenance, a fire will not occur due to a technical malfunction (Figure 2).
Figure 2: A common cause of a fire is the driver’s own negligence
But in some cases, it is not up to the owner and a fire can be triggered:
- A short circuit, fire or other malfunction in the electrical wiring.
- A breach in the sealing of the fuel system, which causes fuel to leak.
- High temperature of some parts due to friction .
- Smoking at the wheel or breaking safety rules when transporting explosive substances.
In addition, the car may catch fire due to a traffic accident, the action of a nuisance, or a thunderstorm.
What to do if a vehicle catches fire
If a fire or smoke outbreak is detected, the actions of the driver and passengers should be quick and coordinated.
Firstly, switch off the vehicle immediately and disconnect the battery terminals to isolate the on-board electrical wiring. Second, call the fire department or emergency services. This should be done in any case, even if you are able to extinguish the fire yourself (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Algorithm of actions in case of a fire in the car
Third, the driver and passengers need to leave the vehicle and move to a safe distance. If the gas tank is not affected, you can try to extinguish the fire yourself, but you still have to wait for firefighters. They will determine the cause of the fire and prepare a report for the traffic service and insurance company.
Response time is important.
Since the cabin of a car is a small enclosed space, even a small fire can cost the passengers and the driver health or even life. Given this characteristic of vehicles, it is clear that response time to a fire plays a key role.
If it is noticed that the fire is approaching the gas tank, it is necessary not only to leave the vehicle and call the firefighters, but also to try to protect the burning vehicle from other road users. In other cases, passengers are evacuated from the car and the driver tries to put out the fire with an onboard fire extinguisher.
Remember: even if the open fire is not visible, and the interior is slightly filled with smoke, all the actions described above must necessarily be performed. There are a lot of materials in the interior of the car that emit toxic substances when burning. The smoke itself is also a danger, so you will have to leave the car in any case.
What not to do
If the car has caught fire, remember that you have to stay inside the cabin for no more than 90 seconds, so you have to act quickly (Figure 4).
Figure 4: If you don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher or can’t put out a fire, it’s best to stand at a safe distance and wait for the rescuers
First of all, do not try to increase your speed, as this will only increase the fire. Look exactly where the fire originates. If it is near the fuel tank, get the passengers out immediately and take them to a safe distance, as gasoline can explode very quickly.
The driver can always try to put out the fire, but if it is too strong or if the fuel tank begins to burn, do not try to act yourself, but stand at a safe distance and wait for the fire fighters.
How to Prevent a Fire
It is much easier to prevent a car fire than to try to put it out. That’s why drivers are urged to follow the simple rules of vehicle operation (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Preventing a fire is much easier than putting it out
Never refuel your car with the engine running, and use metal cans rather than plastic cans for transporting gasoline. The latter accumulate static electricity that can cause a spark and cause a fire.
If there is a strange odor in the car, try to determine its source, and if there are problems with electrical wiring, they must be eliminated immediately. It is also not recommended to smoke while driving. The fire extinguisher is better placed under the front seat, not in the trunk, so that it is easier to reach in case of fire.
The video gives the rescuers’ advice on how to prevent a fire in the car.