How to escape a car fire - AmericaNowNews.com

Safety

Bill Rancic, SMFD show you how to escape a car fire

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If your car were to catch fire, you might think you have plenty of time to get out. But car fires can be deadly, now more than ever.

Bill Rancic found out firsthand just how quickly flames can consume a car while participating in a demonstration staged for America Now.

Bill's biggest fear while putting this fire out: Will the car explode in seconds?

Chief Jose Torres of the Santa Monica Fire Department explains, "Most gas tanks nowadays are vented so you don't have that explosion potential."

That's good news, but it doesn't make car fires any less hazardous. In fact, while today's cars are safer when it comes to crashes, that's not the case when it comes to fire.

"It has to do a lot with the components of the vehicles now. We have a lot of synthetic materials, plastics, rubbers, and it only takes one or two breaths of inhaling something toxic like that to really do damage or kill you," warns Torres.

Torres says there are four zones where fires can start and the first is under the hood.

"You have the electrical system or a fuel system where a fire can start. Power steering fluid is a combustible liquid and as soon as it gets to a hot location, say an exhaust port or any other place where there is heat, it can ignite," says Torres.

"Some of the things that can actually start a fire are the electrical components in the steering wheel. And also you have the air bags. The air bags are dangerous when they are heated because they can discharge and cause the fire to propagate because of the materials they are made of. The key thing is that you service your vehicle. If you notice something unusual, get it checked out because it will save your life," says Torres.

The third fire hazard zone is the trunk.

Chief Torres says, "People carry all kinds of different things in their trunk. Gasoline, as you can see, bleach, chemicals, clothing, cardboard boxes. It's kind of like a junk drawer right? So you really have to be careful. If a fire begins in the trunk area it can ignite and can propagate really fast."

The fourth zone is where fire is hardest to see when you're driving, underneath your car.

Torres says, "One of the components that vehicles have is really, really dangerous is the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter gets really hot and it can cause a fire. And if there's a warning light on. It's on for a reason it's letting you know that you need to check up on a particular system in your vehicle."

If you car begins to catch fire, Chief Torres says, "Exit the vehicle in a safe manner and call 911. If you have a fire extinguisher, go ahead and try to use that fire extinguisher to put the fire out." Torres says everyone should keep a car sized fire extinguisher in the trunk of their car.

And remember - you can reduce the risk of fire by keeping your vehicle properly maintained and in good driving condition. Take this important preventative step and it's much less likely your car will end up burning.

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