Here’s some review materials for a tabletop company drill on vehicle fires from Brent Bronner. The motivation for the review came after seeing the GM recall on the popular Cruze do to fire risk, read more here. Also check out previous posts on magnesium vehicle fires with video here and here. Pass it on!
Below are some good practices to talk about:
- Apparatus positioning is key. Remember to park defensively against both the other traffic and the fire its self. Keep the auto traffic away from the scene and park uphill and upwind.
- Remember to approach the car from the corners. Bumpers and tires have been known to fly off when heated up.
- Size up the area for potential run off of liquids from the car and water from fire fighting. You may need to cover drains or dike around them.
- If liquids are burning on the ground under the car. Swipe under the car before moving up to hit the main body of the fire
- Always be on your toes for magnesium that could be in some of the car components.
- You may have to open the hood of the car. A simple way to do this is to take your circular saw and make four quick cuts. A triangular formation leaving the latch in the middle and a cut on angle on each of the rear corners.
- Overhaul is not just for structures. Tear out pieces of the dash and any other void spaces in the car where fire could be hiding.
- After the fire is out be a detective and always look in the trunk of the car. What you may find might shock you.
Some times you may run across fires in special areas. If you encounter a fire on the highway, here’s a few other points to ponder. Look at what is burning. Are you going to have enough water to fight the fire? Just like the old guys have told me throughout my career when was the last time you saw a hydrant along the highway? Multiple cars in a parking lot? Parking garage? Subdivision basement?
Remember to get out and train on the everyday bread and butter calls as well as the advanced stuff. Train real, train safe!