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The importance of having a fire extinguisher in your vehicle

The importance of having a fire extinguisher in your vehicle

What starts with a suspicious burning smell under the hood can turn into a major fire. Unless its source is immediately extinguished with a fire extinguisher, something that, however, not all cars have.

“Carrying a fire extinguisher in the vehicle is not always mandatory depending on the country, but it is always a good idea to have one in an emergency. In this way, irreparable damage caused by fire could be avoided in many cases,” says Sören Heinze, an expert at the Auto Club Europe (ACE), the second largest automobile club in Germany.

Jan Ole Unger, from the fire brigade of the German city of Hamburg, also believes that a fire extinguisher in the car makes a lot of sense: “With it you can extinguish incipient fires, for example from burnt cables, which can quickly turn into something more serious.”

In car accessories stores you can find a wide variety of models of fire extinguishers for cars. According to Unger, the best are two-kilogram fire extinguishers that can be easily stored in the trunk or in the footwell behind the seat.

It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Heinze points out that the extinguisher should be securely attached and where it can be quickly accessed in an emergency, such as in the passenger footwell or on the seats.

Mathias Obst, fire expert and chief editor of a German specialist magazine, advises to make sure that the fire extinguisher complies with the current standard and is frost resistant. Obst explains that the content and the filling volume are decisive: “Aerosol fire extinguishing systems available on the market, for example, are hardly suitable, since their content is too small and the pressure is insufficient.”

Difference between their types

Most fire extinguishers work with ABC powder. “With these, the three classes of fire can be extinguished: solid, liquid and gaseous. Foam extinguishers, on the other hand, are only suitable for classes A and B,” explains Heinze.

He adds that powder extinguishers have a significantly higher extinguishing performance with the same amount of fill volume, and that they are also affordable. The important thing is the correct technique of extinction. “You have to try to fight the embers with short bursts of powder, because otherwise a two kilo fire extinguisher will empty after only twelve seconds,” says Obst.

In his words, the disadvantage of the powder, however, is the strong residue, since the fine material settles in every crack and is very difficult to remove later.

A foam extinguisher, on the other hand, does little damage, but cannot be used on gas fires and is more expensive than a powder extinguisher.

“The advantage is that it is easy to use, because it is extinguished with a jet of water, similar to that of a garden hose,” explains Obst, adding: “With the powder extinguisher, on the other hand, the agent is released with great force, which could intimidate some users”,

Fire extinguishers have a service life of more than ten years. “However, it is important that they are checked regularly,” warns Heinze.

The inspection cycle usually requires maintenance every two years by the manufacturer or a specialized company. In the models with pressure gauge, you can read the state of the pressure and therefore also if the extinguisher is ready for use.

Whether powder or foam fire extinguisher: Both variants are suitable for combustion vehicles and electric cars. “The deciding factor is always the intensity of the fire. An incipient cable fire can be fought in any vehicle with conventional fire extinguishers,” says Unger, but he notes that a two-kilo fire extinguisher is useless if the car has already caught fire.

Source: Eluniverso

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