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Wildland vehicle entrapment

Submitted by The Federal Fire and Aviation Safety Team

  • Park the vehicle in an area void of vegetation.
  • Fire out around the vehicle if there is time. 
  • Park behind a natural barrier or structure. 
  • Do not park on the downhill side of a road or under power lines or over-hanging vegetation. 
  • Stay out of saddles or draws. 
  • Position the vehicle in a direction that provides the area occupied by crew personnel the maximum protection from an approaching flame front. 
  • Set the parking break, leave the motor running at high RPM, and keep the vehicle lights on. 
  • Roll up the windows and do not lock the doors since someone else might need to get in. 
  • Cover windows with fire shelters with reflective material placed against window. 
  • You must protect your airway, remain as low in the vehicle as possible, and use a dry bandana to cover your nose and mouth. 
    Expect the following conditions if you are trapped inside the vehicle:
  • Temperatures may reach over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Smoke and sparks may enter the vehicle.
  • Plastic parts may start to melt and give off toxic gases.
  • Windows may start to crack.
  • Exposed skin may receive radiant heat burns. 
    If the vehicle catches fire, or windows blow out, and you must exit the vehicle before the fire has passed, then:
  • Each crewmember should cover himself/herself with a fire shelter.

  • Exit the vehicle from the side away from the greatest heat.
  • Stay together and get as low to the ground as possible, moving away from the vehicle.
  • Deploy your shelter in a safe area. 
  • For more safety tips from the Federal Fire and Aviation Safety Team, visit its Six Minutes for Safety section at www.nifc.gov.

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