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Old 25th April 2013, 11:57   #1
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Lightbulb A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

We travel in a car in which we "purposefully initiate" thousands of ignitions every minute. It's actually very surprising that even though car propels because of "fire", the rate of the car as a whole catching fire is low! But that doesn't mean no car is catching fire. Now , we have a handful of threads in which we blame manufacturers, aftermarket accessories, poor workmanship...blah blah... I agree. BUT what are "we" doing? Are we following our duties? Precautions? Are you making sure your car is fire safe every time your enter it?

Whatever reason it may be, we miss some really crucial points/ things to be taken care of. Dear BHPians and fellow car owners the knowledge you get from your car manual, the safety you get by following rules or by reading this article might not be immediately noticeable/ applicable. But at a point of time when you save your loved ones or yourself in a split second decision due to all the knowledge you have of your car and the situation, the sheer value of your life becomes immediately noticeable. That moment when you become fully aware of the fact that you are given a second chance and this chance is only because of the safety you've followed, you feel tremendously thankful to yourself.

We DONOT know how fate turns upon us, in general. But there are certain situations where fate turned on us "ONLY" because of our sheer ignorance of safety. Let's not TEMPT fate. Follow safety rules, be knowledgeable on how to handle different situations - in this place, this time - how to prevent, handle vehicle fires.

A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

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A vehicle Fire simply is an accident involving vehicle/s in a fire due to various reasons.

This thread aims at
  • The reasons for car fires which are often overlooked
  • Safety Precautions to be taken to prevent vehicle fires
  • Tactics which are helpful to both onlookers and sufferers in case of a vehicle fire
  • Necessary goodies which must be carried to escape in case of a vehicle fire

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 25th April 2013 at 16:14.
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Old 25th April 2013, 15:08   #2
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Default Top Reasons for Vehicle Fires

Top Reasons for Vehicle Fires

A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention-02.jpg

Electrical:
  • Electrical/ Battery malfunction
  • Onboard Computer malfunction
  • Battery placed under seats of a car short-circuiting due to metal under seat
  • Heavy rains short-circuiting poor electrical work
  • Amplifiers if improperly fused

Human Error:
  • No knowledge of safety devices in the car - how to engage/ disengage, operate them
  • Careless disposal of smoking materials
  • Parking car upon dry grass which is high
  • Careless filling of gas cylinders on to the bed of a pickup with plastic lining

Leakages:
  • Leaking Fuel/ other engine fluids on to hot parts of the engine

Poor Maintenance:
  • Overheating due to poor maintanence of engine vitals & engine health
  • Grass/ grain dust piling up on the exhaust line
  • Backfiring igniting air/ grass/ grain dust
  • Heavy rains short-circuiting poor electrical work

Arson

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 25th April 2013 at 16:17.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:11   #3
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Default Safety Precautions to be taken to prevent vehicle fires

Electrical:
  • Electrical/ Battery malfunction
  • Onboard Computer malfunction
  • Battery placed under seats of a car short-circuiting due to metal under seat
  • Heavy rains short-circuiting poor electrical work
  • Amplifiers if improperly fused

A good battery from reputed maker unlike cheap batteries for the lack of money,
Making sure that the safety covers on the terminals are securely fastened,
Getting the amplifier and other high load equipment fused
Making sure rain water doesn't get lodged in electrical junction are steps to be taken.

Once going through above, it is apparent that most of them are preventable at user level.
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Human Error:
  • No knowledge of safety devices in the car - how to engage/ disengage, operate them
  • Careless disposal of smoking materials
  • Parking car upon dry grass which is high
  • Careless filling of gas cylinders on to the bed of a pickup with plastic lining

Lack of information regarding the car and it's safety systems can well be treated as having the key to a locked house but not unlocking it. How many of you know Fiat's FPS, VW's emergency door lock override, etc...? Apparently we don't have time to go through user manual of the car. The user manual is the single best source of information regarding your car, it's safety features, how to handle different life threatening situations effectively and preventing these threatening situations. Make a habit, go through your manual frequently. Always keep it in your car, you will need it - may be not today, but always tomorrow.

Performing multiple functions while driving is not advisable. Let's keep texting aside for a while. Bring smoking into the spot light. A car cruising at 70kph, driver smoking leisurely. Be aware of the fact that in a car, you are surrounded by a host of inflammable materials. So what, if at all something happens, I'll take prompt action - somebody says. What if you are at 70kph on a freeway and your cigarette fell on the driver/ passenger side foot well? Will you lean down into the footwell to take out the cigarette at 70kph? No way! It'll atleast take you 90 seconds to react for that. By this time, "if" the cigarette strickes the perfect chord, triggers a fire, you'll helpless. In the same way, careless disposal of smoking materials definitely can trigger a major fire. Please take care where you dispose off the smoking materials. You'll definitely earn a blessing if you dispose it in a dustbin!

Please take care where you park your car after a long drive. Dry grass is instantly flammable(bear grylles man vs. wild!) and considering how hot the exhaust is, it's no surprise it can lead to a fire.

Regarding cylinders on plastic lining on beds, static electricity builds up and bhoom! Please educate others on this. Large scale transport of gas cylinders and a simple spark will produce massive destruction.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Leakages:
  • Leaking Fuel/ other engine fluids on to hot parts of the engine

This is a very common issue with old/ poorly maintained vehicles. Leaking engine oils or other fluids "will" catch fire if they fall the exhaust plumbing. Feels scary to have driven a matiz for 1+1/2 year with engine oil leaking right next to the exhaust. Thanks god I'm writing this now, I'll never over look that again. You mechanic may say, "saar, woh toh minor leak hai, kuch nahein hoga. Aap monthly thoda engine oil top up kare tho bas!". It's your call, your life.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Poor Maintenance:
  • Overheating due to poor maintanence of engine vitals & engine health
  • Grass/ grain dust piling up on the exhaust line
  • Backfiring igniting air/ grass/ grain dust
  • Heavy rains short-circuiting poor electrical work

Maintenance is such a powerful word. It describes your attitude, your love towards your car and your life. Many times, it takes a small look into the engine bay, under body for any abnormal fuel lines, hoses etc. Overlooking a car maintenance is buying a ticket for heaven! Please check as frequently as possible the wiring, the vital fluids and their lines, find time get the leaks and other issues solved. By thoroughly checking your car, you are not only reassuring yourself, you are caring for you loved car. Many think maintenance always means outside beauty. It is the inside. Who want's a car that is like Gandhi on the outside and Telecom Raja on the inside?! Take car of your car engine with equal passion and interest.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arson

Quote:
Originally Posted by wikipedia
Arson[1] is the crime of intentionally and maliciously setting fire to buildings, wildland areas,[2] vehicles [3][4] or other property with the intent to cause damage. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires. Arson often involves fires deliberately set to the property of another or to one's own property as to collect insurance compensation.[5]
Well, no one here is an arsonist I hope.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Don't compromise on your and other's safety. Don't cut on essential equipment like fuses, quality wiring, using proper gauge wires etc... Don't fall prey to cheap solutions which may solve the problem for short term. Please go in for products especially electrical from reputed manufacturers.

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More @ Source : VFAPA.pdf

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 27th April 2013 at 16:12. Reason: Pics edited
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Old 25th April 2013, 18:40   #4
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

I suppose this explains a lot better than my words,

Source:NSC
Quote:
A fire in one's car or other motor vehicle is a frightening situation which can quickly
involve great personal danger to vehicle occupants and bystanders. Although every
vehicle fire incident will have certain unique factors present at the time, the National
Safety Council offers the following step-by-step general suggestions on what to do if
your car (or other motor vehicle) catches on fire.


While you are moving on a roadway:
1. Signal your intentions and move to the right lane.
2. Get onto the shoulder or breakdown lane.
3. Stop immediately.
4. Shut off the engine.
5. Get yourself and all other persons out of the vehicle.
6. Get far away from the vehicle and stay away from it. Keep onlookers and others
away.
7. Warn oncoming traffic.
8. Notify the fire department.
9. Don’t attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible
ignition of fuel in the vehicle’s tank.)


While the vehicle is stopped in traffic or parked:
1. Shut off the engine.
2. Get far away from the vehicle.
3. Warn pedestrians and other vehicles to stay away.
4. Notify the fire department.
5. Don’t attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible
ignition of fuel in the vehicle’s tank.)


In all vehicle fire situations, the first thing to think about is personal safety; any vehicle
can be replaced—humans cannot. Think and act quickly, in the safest way possible.
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:37   #5
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

Tactics which are helpful to sufferers in case of a vehicle fire
I've come across many BHPians posting tactics on how to get out of a jammed car in the civic catching fire thread. Here's one:

Quote:
I know what I am going to suggest may sound a bit theoretical and may not be easy to follow once you are under panic attack in such situation, the person should have taken out the headrest and should have used that to break the rear glass to come out of the car.

More here...
http://twentytwowords.com/2012/07/25...th-a-headrest/

Although I have to admit it could be much difficult to get out of such situation, especially Civic being a low slung and tightly packed car.

Please contribute to this thread by posting your idea on how to get out of a jammed car. Detailed explanation is welcome. Thanks!


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Necessary goodies which must be carried to escape in case of a vehicle fire

Fire extinguisher

Jammed Seat belt? - Rescue Hook

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It is advisable to have a seat belt cutter also called rescue hook. Although some might think, I'm stuck in the car because of a jammed seat belt. Seatbelts in general are more likely to save you than kill you. Consider yourself in a rollover accident, if you ain't wearing a seat-belt you might be dazed/ unconscious. We'll with a seat belt you are protected from severe injuries.



Jammed Door? - Glass Breaker

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A device called glass breaker comes to rescue.



Both of them combined in a single tool,
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http://www.benchmade.com/products/10105

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ebay india links to the necessary products,
http://www.ebay.in/itm/FIRE-EXTINGUI...#ht_3539wt_906
http://www.ebay.in/itm/4-in-1-Car-Em...-/310645375324
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MT18-ResQm...-/400181444100

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Until yesterday, I did not have the user manual, the first aid kit in the car followed by 2 loosely hanging open wires in the engine bay of which I already knew months ago. I’m a Classic example of human error and laziness to correct. After the civic incident, I’ve put the user manual, first aid kit, and taped of the open wires in the engine bay, checked for fluid leaks….wrote this article. I've definitely changed, now it’s your turn.

Drive Safe,
Always wear your seat belt & make others wear their seat belt.

May the civic owner rest in peace.

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 25th April 2013 at 20:08.
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Old 25th April 2013, 20:11   #6
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

Related Topics:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ire-india.html (Accidents : Vehicles catching Fire in India)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ire-delhi.html (Skoda Rapid Catches Fire In Delhi)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-injuries.html (Volkswagen Vento catches fire. Owner dies from burn injuries)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ysis-pg34.html

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...wner-dead.html


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Safety of your car is the safety of your family. Remember.

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 25th April 2013 at 20:14.
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Old 25th April 2013, 20:56   #7
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

Mod note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Technical Stuff section.
Excellent thread and thanks for sharing.
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Old 25th April 2013, 22:20   #8
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Default

This is truly a WOW thread.

Thank you for sharing!
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:18   #9
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

Very informative thread for general public, thanks!

Its crossed my mind a couple of times what I'd do in case my car catches fire and I've kept the tool kit just besides the front driver seat. Wouldn't the big screwdriver and wrench be equivalent to a glass breaker in case of such an event?

Mods: Can we do something about the t-bhp logo that's on a couple of pics early in the post, it has rendered certain text unreadable.

Last edited by fine69 : 26th April 2013 at 18:22.
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:23   #10
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
Mods: Can we do something about the t-bhp logo that's on a couple of pics early in the post, it has rendered certain text unreadable.
Nothing we can do about those. That's how he has uploaded those pics and TBHP logo sits there automatically during upload process.
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:26   #11
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

Excellent thread and lots of good points mentioned.

I always carry a Victorinox tool in my car just for such emergencies. This tool is always in my car's glove box.

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Old 26th April 2013, 18:29   #12
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

That is compiled together excellently. Thank you mate.

I never knew about the seatbelt cutter, due to which I keep an alternative to the seatbelt cutter - a 'scissor' in the cabin which would alteast let us cut the belt(quite fast in my opinion) if nothing works and the same can be used to crack the glass.

Edit :

A few more points - credits to the BHPian's who posted in various other threads. With the cases of cars catching fire becoming frequent, we should probably have a few(not one) rescue plans outlined which can be executed quickly. The panic at that point in time might not allow you to think.

1. Keep an eye before the fire takes a bad shape. If at all even a little smoke is seen from the bonnet, stop at once and inspect the car.
2. Find out the switch to open the boot from inside, if the doors are jammed, an option would be move out through the boot (wherever the car's rear seat can be folded).
3. Try breaking/moving the front glass(windshield) which is fixed using a glue, it might come out easily. Window doors are small and you might have to break it keeping in mind no sharp edges are left to hurt you while exiting.
4. The same would apply for the rear windshield in case the fire has taken a bad shape near the engine area - it would come out easily.

Last edited by Fiest@DuraTec : 26th April 2013 at 18:40.
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:39   #13
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

The descriptions in the images (in the image itself- lower left corner) in the post No.3 are not visible due to Team-Bhp Logo on them.

Mods, please do the needful so that the description in the images are visible to read.

Thanks.
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Old 26th April 2013, 20:16   #14
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

I'll upload another set of pictures to solve the problem, until then please down load the pdf attachment in post#3. Thanks!!
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Old 26th April 2013, 20:27   #15
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Default Re: A Definitive Approach to Vehicle Fires & their Prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eminenttismo View Post
I'll upload another set of pictures to solve the problem, until then please down load the pdf attachment in post#3. Thanks!!
Do not do that. Instead, send me the text content below the pictures via pm. I'll insert them properly.
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