What To Do If Car Catches Fire?

Cars going up in flames is not uncommon. Irrespective of whether it’s a gasoline powered car or an electric vehicle, chances of fire are always there. In internal combustion engine cars, fire is usually caused by a fuel leak. In the case of EVs, thermal runaway in the battery pack is a common cause of fire.

It is important to realize that any car can catch fire. Even top car brands are not completely immune to it. So, it makes sense to be prepared, both mentally and physically, to deal with such eventualities. Here’s what you can do if your car catches fire.

Turn off the engine – In most cases, your olfactory senses can detect signs of a potential fire. Before the fire actually erupts, you may be able to sense the signature smell of a short circuit or burning plastic. Any unknown smell should be investigated immediately. You need not wait for the smoke and fire before taking action. If you suspect a potential fire, you need to pull over safely and turn off the engine. If you are using physical keys, you need to take it off.

Exit the vehicle – Don’t take the risk of trying to evaluate things while sitting inside the car. Fire in cars can spread very rapidly, within a few seconds. So, make sure you exit the vehicle as soon as possible. If there are other passengers, ask them to exit the vehicle. Provide assistance to those who may not be able to exit the vehicle quickly.

Use the fire extinguisher – It’s mandatory in many countries to keep a fire extinguisher inside cars at all times. If the fire is small and not linked to a fuel leak or battery pack, you can use the fire extinguisher. However, if it’s a major fire, it would be better not to try adventurous things. In the case of EVs, it’s almost impossible to put out the fire with small fire extinguishers.

Maintain distance – Maintain safe distance from the car, assuming that the car may eventually blow up. You may be safe from the fire, but flying debris can still cause significant injuries. Maintain adequate distance and preferably take cover behind a tree or other structure.

Call emergency services – Once safely out of the vehicle, call your local emergency services. Provide all the details, so that all the necessary manpower and equipment can be sent to your location.

Do not try to retrieve valuables – Excluding human lives, there is nothing else more important. Don’t try to sneak in the car, just to retrieve something you consider as valuable.

When faced with a car fire, it is important to remain calm and not panic. It is recommended that you practice dealing with such situations. You can carry out mock drills, which will be useful when you may actually face a car fire situation. Also make sure your car is inspected and serviced regularly to reduce the risk of fire.

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