Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mechanical Failures and Breakdowns are Major Cause of Vehicle Fires

Across the country, approximately 287,000 vehicle fires occur each year, resulting in 480 deaths, more than 1,500 injuries and $1.3 billion in property damage.

The Virginia Department of Transportation and AAA Mid-Atlantic report that mechanical failures or breakdowns cause about half of those vehicle fires.

Loudoun County motorists can greatly reduce the chance of such a fire by having regular vehicle inspections, being alert to leaks or unusual sounds and getting immediate vehicle service if problems are suspected.

If a fire occurs:
  • Stop – If possible, pull to the side of the road and turn off the ignition. Pulling to the side makes it possible for everyone to get out of the vehicle safely. Turn off the ignition to shut off the electric current and stop the flow of gasoline. Put the vehicle in park or set the emergency brake; you don’t want the vehicle to move after you leave it. Keep the hood closed because more oxygen can make the fire larger.
  • Get out – Make sure everyone gets out of the vehicle. Then move at least 100 feet away. Keep traffic in mind, and keep everyone together. There is not only danger from the fire, but also from other vehicles moving in the area.
  • Call for help – Call 9-1-1. Firefighters are specially trained to combat vehicle fires. Never return to the vehicle to attempt to fight the fire yourself. Most injuries happen when motorists try to extinguish the fire themselves. Vehicle fires can be tricky, even for firefighters.

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