I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that some 93% of home in America have fire detection alarms installed. Unfortunately, vehicles do not, which is partly the reason why there are more than a quarter of a million car fires each year (As reported by the National Fire Protection Association). This resulted in over 1 Billion dollars in damages as well as almost 500 deaths and some 12,000 injuries.
Summer weekends were the highest risk for vehicle fires and most are caused by mechanical failures, including overheating.
Preventing Vehicle Fires
- Annual maintenance should eliminate a huge number of vehicle fires. If, as we have stated, mechanical failures are the number one cause, then annual inspections by a certified mechanic will identify most problem before they turn into something serious enough to cause a fire.
- Constant inspections by the driver mean paying attention to leaks, cracked hoses, frayed belts and electrical shorts. It also means noticing changes in the way that your vehicle sounds or operates. It means paying attention to the temperature gauge, making sure that the oil level is good, that the car isn’t backfiring or emitting smoke or idling too high. Ignoring these issues can lead to a more serious problem that could cause a vehicle fire.
What to do if the car catches fire
AAA has come up with an easy three-step procedure…
Stop – Pull the car to the side of the road and shut it off. Shutting off the engine shuts down the fuel pump which might otherwise add fuel to the fire.
Get out – Never stay in a burning or smoking vehicle no matter how small the fire or how little the amount of smoke. A small fire can spread fast and/or ignite gasoline, causing an explosion. Make sure that you also stay away from the flow of traffic. Getting safety away from a burning vehicle isn’t much good if you get hit by oncoming traffic.
Call – Use a cell phone or flag down someone to call 911. Stay clear of the vehicle and let the fire department handle the fire.