Summer = car traveling season. Families across the country hit the road for vacations, family visits, and new adventures! It is very important keep your car in good repair to prevent fires. It is also vital that every family member knows the proper car fire safety measures. According to a 2012 report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2006 to 2010, fire departments responded to an estimated 152,300 fires per year. On average, 17 automobile fires were reported per hour and these fires killed an average of 4 people per week. Mechanical or electrical malfunctions were the main cause of over two thirds of automobile fires that were reported, while only 29% of fires began in fuel tanks or were fuel fires.
There are many reasons that a fire can start in a car. It can start from mechanical or electrical problems, collisions or rollovers. As a driver, you must be prepared for any of these problems to occur. It is very important to take preventative fire safety measures for your vehicle.
Preventing a Car Fire
- Have your car serviced regularly by a professionally-trained mechanic. A well-maintained car is less likely to have a car fire.
- If you have to transport gasoline or other flammable materials, keep the materials in a certified gas can that is sealed and only transport small amounts. Do not transport these items in the passenger compartment. Store them in the trunk or the truck bed.
- Never park a car where flammables, such as grass are touching the catalytic converter.
- Do not smoke in your car.
- Always drive safely to avoid an accident.
- Check the car before long trips. Look for cracked or loose wiring or electrical problems. Check for oil or fluid leaks below the car. Keep an eye out for rapid changes in fuel or fluid level or engine temperature.
- Consider having a car fire extinguisher for emergency situations.
If your vehicle is on fire, follow these steps:
- Pull over as quickly as you can (and it is safe to do so) to a safe locations, such as a rest stop or breakdown lane. Make sure to signal that you are changing lanes, so other drivers will know your intent.
- Once you have stopped, shut off the engine.
- Get everyone out of the car and stay away from the vehicle. Do not go back near the car.
- Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and away from any traffic.
- If the fire is small, try your fire extinguisher to see if it can be put out. If the fire appears out of control, it most likely is and you should not attempt to put it out yourself. Wait for the professionals.
- Call 911
AKE Safety Equipment wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable driving and vacation season!