Fire Extinguisher a 'Must Have' for Vehicle Safety

Published on June 23, 2016 08:47 AM in Maintenance
Fire Extinguisher a 'Must Have' for Vehicle Safety

Most of us have driven past a burning car on the side of the highway. Sometimes that leads our thoughts adrift and what we would do if our own vehicle caught fire.

“A fire extinguisher is often a forgotten ‘must have’ item for vehicle owners,” said Chris Dieter, senior vice president for H3R Performance, Inc., a fire extinguisher manufacturer based in Petalmua, Calif. that produces the MaxOut and HalGuard lines. “Short circuits, leaking fluids and faulty fuel delivery systems are common causes of engine fires.”

Auto manufacturers have taken safety precautions–like a gas line that shuts down after a collision–but statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show vehicle fires are in decline but still commonplace.

Vehicle fires are responsible for $1 billion in property damage annually and claim almost a life a day, the agency reports. Roughly 164,000 vehicle fires took place in 2013.

Just as homeowners are encouraged to keep an extinguisher in the kitchen or near a barbecue, motorists can benefit from a compact version of the device, Dieter said.

“It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it."

Dieter offered the following advice for getting the right type of fire extinguisher for your vehicle:

  • Put it in a safe place: Don’t forget to secure it, and make sure it is easy to get at.
  • Testing matters: Be sure the extinguisher is UL listed, which means that it has been thoroughly tested and should work when you need it to.
  • Remember the acronym PASS: Pull the tab. Aim at the base of the fire. Squeeze the handles together to start the stream. Sweep the stream from side to side for the most coverage.
  • Select the right size: Many automobile extinguishers contain between 1 and 2.5 pounds of agent. Bigger is usually better if you have the room, but any extinguisher is better than no extinguisher.
  • Think about the aftermath: Consider a clean agent product. They cost more up-front, but you avoid having to worry about corrosion and clean up.