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Car Fires – A Brief Safety Guide

Car fires aren’t common, but even a small risk is still a risk. With such a deadly circumstance, it’s important to know what to do if you encounter one. Vehicles are robust machines with flammable fuel, electrical wiring, and hot engine components. Your best line of defense is staying informed and prepared for the worst. According to the National Fire Data Center: 

  • 45% of fires are caused by mechanical failure. 
  • 21% are caused by electrical failure or leaks. 
  • 13% are caused by the misuse of flammable products or materials. 

What are some warning signs that can lead to a vehicle fire? 

  • Spilled oil under the hood. 
  • Crack or loose wire that’s exposed to metal components 
  • Usually loud sounds coming from the exhaust. 
  • Fuses that continuously blow. 
  • High engine temperature 
  • Extreme changes in fluid levels 
  • Broken hoses  

Vehicle fires don’t just start under the hood. Fires can occur inside the car, near wheels, and even inside the dashboard. If you suspect or notice a vehicle fire, it’s essential to act quickly, but remain calm. Immediately pull over and turn off the engine. Turning off the engine stops the flow of fuel. You and all passengers should exit the vehicle and move at least 150 feet away. Alert authorities to help contain the situation and avoid opening any compartments near the fire. As a preventative measure, make sure you have an emergency kit packed in the trunk. The emergency kit should have an extinguisher included. A car window breaker would also be helpful just in case it’s difficult to exit the vehicle, or if you need to cut a seat belt open. Staying alert and prepared can help keep you safe in case the unexpected happens. 

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