Thursday, February 26, 2004
What Would You Do: Surviving A Car Fire
It can happen on I-95, the Turnpike, or just about any other road. What Would You Do if your car catches on fire? Well, it turns out a few seconds can make all the difference. Here's 7's Charles Perez with a roadmap to safety.
(WSVN) -- Let's just say if your car catches on fire, the heat is definitely on.
The flames can spread instantly.
The smoke can be impenetrable.
"A lot of times they can start out small, involving just a little smoke. And, then they get confined to the engine compartment and get bigger and bigger."
If the fire starts inside the car - careless smoking is most likely to blame.
"They throw it out the front window and it comes in the back window."
In this demonstration, Fort Lauderdale fire fighters torched a vehicle to show us what happens.
In less than one minute, the whole car to be filled with flames.
"That was what ... maybe 45 seconds?"
But how about when the fire starts in the engine? They're often more dangerous, even though they burn more slowly.
"An electrical short could cause it ... you could have a break in the fuel line."
So when you see smoke billowing out of the hood. The first thing you want to do is get out and see the source of the problem.
If it can be contained, make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the car.
"You're going to have to put some force into it and give it a good tug. Aim it at the base of the flames and then squeeze, and we want to sweep back and forth."
But if the blaze is too big ... it's time to get away because the flames can ignite an explosion.
"The tires will blow if the fire gets involved with the tires. The bumpers will blow 10 to 15 feet off the front car when they get heated."
Your airbags will also blow ... along with pistons on hatchbacks.
So call 9-1-1 and take cover.
"It's not you, yourself getting hurt and it's not worth endangering other people to save any piece of property."
And it's not worth fighting flames when the professionals can do it for you.
For the next What Would You Do? You're going to have to wait a week and a half.
On Tuesday, March 9th, Charles has some pointers on what to do if you're in a high-rise and it catches on fire.
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