How would you attack this car fire?

With fires in today's vehicles, it is critical to know the risks and how to protect firefighters against them

This feature is intended to spark the sharing of ideas, information and techniques to make firefighters safer and more effective. The following video and discussion points must not be used to berate, belittle or criticize those firefighters. Rather, in the spirit of near-miss reporting, please use this feature as another teaching tool to help you better do your job. Please leave your comments below and use this material in your own department. I hope you find this Reality Training valuable; stay safe and keep learning.

Fire departments across the United States frequently respond to vehicle fires, and just like responses to fire alarm system activations, this frequency can lead to complacent behavior on the part of firefighters and officers.

Car fires involving modern automobiles — constructed of high-tech composite materials and plastics — present fires that demand that personnel are properly equipped and that sound tactics are employed. The intense heat and noxious smoke produced by these fire present significant radiant heat and inhalation risks to firefighters and civilians alike.

Discussion questions

  • What initial actions would you and your personnel take if you responded to a similar incident?
  • Are there a life-safety hazards in this scenario? If so, how would you and your personnel address those hazards?
  • What are the safety hazards that firefighters must be conscious of when approaching and extinguishing a fire in today's automobiles?
  • Is there a legitimate exposure threat?

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