The number of car fires is ever on the rise. Specifically, the number of intentional fires has increased by 200% since 1989. Here, Natasha Sabin from London City Fire Protection, a company that specialises in providing fire protection supplies and services, looks at how owners can reduce risk on and off the road:
Avoid theft and arson
Securing your car is the best thing you can do. Keep it in a secure garage, car park or on a driveway if you can. Failing that, park it in a well-lit street. Another tip is to use anti-theft devices to protect your car.
Steering locks are commonly used.
It sounds obvious, but make sure you always lock your car doors, boot and windows, and take your key out of the ignition.
Keep your car free of clutter
Clutter is basically another word for fuel. If you don’t get rid of your rubbish, wrapping and other flammable bits, a fire that could otherwise be tackled with an extinguisher will quickly flare out of control.
Prevent fluid leaks
Most car fluid leaks are flammable. It’s important that your car is serviced and checked regularly. This should draw your attention to any cracked fuel lines, bad fuel injectors or damage to any other part that may allow for a fuel leak.
Keep a fire extinguisher in your car
If a small fire does break out, you may be able to fight it. You’ll need to invest in an ABC dry powder extinguisher, the only one that can safely fight all of the potential fires in your car. If there’s a fire beneath your bonnet, do not attempt to open it – you could burn your hand and fuel the fire. Instead, aim the extinguisher at the grilles in your bonnet, or under the edge of the bonnet (after releasing it).
Learn the danger signs
• Cracked or loose wiring or electrical problems, including a fuse that blows more than once
• Oil or fluid leaks
• Oil cap not on securely
• Rapid changes in fuel or fluid level, or engine temperature
Don’t smoke in your car
Or, at the very least, dispose of smoking materials safely so that they don’t ignite your car’s interiors, which are highly flammable and toxic.
Naturally, this will reduce your risk of a fire caused by a collision. Park away from flammable materials. This could be something as obvious as a puddle of oil, or as innocuous as grass.