What you need to know to be safe...
fires can produce toxic gases. Automobiles, trucks, and other motor
vehicles are made of many synthetic materials that emit harmful, if not
deadly gases when they burn. A main by-product of fires is a lethal
concentration of carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, and
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Fire can cause fatal or debilitating burn injuries. A car fire can
generate heat upwards of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that
water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and that most foods are cooked
at temperatures less than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Flames from burning
vehicles can often shoot out distances of 10 feet or more.
Parts of the vehicle can burst because of heat, shooting debris great
distances. Bumper and hatchback door struts, two-piece tire rims,
magnesium wheels, drive shafts, grease seals, axle, and engine parts,
all can become lethal shrapnel. Vehicle fires may also cause air bags
Although relatively rare, gas tanks of motor vehicles can rupture and
spray flammable fuel, posing a clear potential for serious injury. In
even more extraordinary instances, gas tanks have been known to
explode. Hazardous Materials, such as battery acid, can cause injury
Car fires are so dangerous that firefighters wear full protective gear
and self-contained breathing apparatus to keep themselves safe. They
also have the ability to quickly put out vehicle fires with large
amounts of water or other extinguishing agents. You don't have these
safety advantages so use extra precaution.
Car fires can be dangerous.
Nearly 1 out of 4 fires involves motor vehicles.
1 out of 8 fire deaths results from car fires.
Approximately 550 are killed and 2,100 civilians and 1,200 firefighters are injured a year from motor vehicle fires.
If There is a Fire, What Should You Do?
Get yourself and all others out of and away from the vehicle. If the
vehicle is in a garage or other structure, exit immediately.
After you are a safe distance from the vehicle, call the fire
department at 911 or the local emergency telephone number. Tell them
the location of the car fire.
Remain away from the vehicle: do not attempt to get back into a burning vehicle to retrieve personal property.
Never put yourself in danger using a fire extinguisher. If you do
use a fire extinguisher, only do so from a safe distance and always
have a means to get away.
It is recommended to use a fire extinguisher approved for use on class "B" and class "C" fires.
Do not open the hood or trunk if you suspect a fire under it. Air could rush in, enlarging the fire, leading to injury.
The dangers of a car fire are often overlooked. Each year, these fires
kill over 550 people and injure thousands more. Toxic gases and other
hazardous substances, and flying debris and explosion, combine to
produce serious dangers in motor vehicle fires.