Every year, your fire department, responds to a large number of automobile fires. About 90 percent of these fires could have been prevented if owners had invested a few minutes time every couple of months.
If you would like to prevent an automobile fire in your car, then you or your gas station attendant should periodically check or perform the following maintenance items:
- Steam clean the engine compartment at least every other year.
- Watch for oil or gasoline leaks in the engine compartment.
- Check all gasoline lines for loose fittings, cracked hoses, bent lines, or worn clamps at least yearly.
- Ensuring that the air cleaner is replaced in its original position and is properly secured (lack of air cleaner is a common automobile fire cause).
- Visually inspect the electrical system for broken or frayed wires and ensure that all wires are making a good connection. This should be done in both the engine and passenger compartments.
- Never throw any burning material out of a window, as the wind may blow it back into the car.
- Be extremely careful while smoking, or when using an open flame inside the vehicle.
- Lock your car whenever you leave it. This prevents others from entering your vehicle and possibly setting fire to it.
The older a car gets, the greater the importance of maintenance. Remember, if you invest a few minutes of your time today in maintenance, tomorrow you may have prevented a car fire. In the long run, this investment will save you time, money, and a great deal of inconvenience.
Car Fire Extinguishers
If you should have an automobile fire, the best method of reducing damage is to quickly extinguish the fire. Therefore, the Fire Department recommends that all automobiles carry a fire extinguisher in good operating condition.
The extinguisher should have a minimum 10BC rating. This rating, found on the label, means that the fire extinguisher will handle either a gasoline or electrical fire.
If you do not have a fire extinguisher available and the fire is small, you might attempt to smother the fire with a blanket or dirt after calling the fire department.
Please call the Upper St Clair Volunteer Fire Department at 412.833.0660, if you have any questions or if you would like additional information about automobile fires.