Car fires don’t happen frequently but when they do, they’re a potentially deadly emergency. According to Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the number of vehicle fires inched by 6.9 per cent last year 2014, from 281 to 233 cases. Latest statistics by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) showed that of these incidents, 131 cases involved motor cars (including taxis).
The SCDF said that most of the fires occurred while the vehicles were travelling on the road and were caused by potential sources such as electrical faults and overheating within the engine compartment.
Most vehicle fires start small but can develop rapidly due to presence of flammables such as petrol, diesel and lubricants.
Here are the steps if you’re driving and spot any sign of smoke or flames emitting from your vehicle:
1. Signal and immediately pull over safely to the side road.
2. Turn off the engine and evacuate everyone from the vehicle
3. Call 995 for help.
It’s generally not recommended that you try to put out the fire yourself as opening the hood or car doors increases the air supply and may accelerate the fire. Once the fire has been put out, contact your insurance agent. If possible, take photo of the damage, and collect the names and phone numbers of witnesses. Ask the firefighters when and if it is safe to remove personal items from the vehicle. Have it towed to a repair shop for an inspection before attempting to operate it again.
To prevent these incidents, drivers are reminded to service your vehicle regularly at authorised vehicle workshops. Make sure that the electrical, engine and fuel systems are checked for any defect. Beyond this period, owners are encourages to conduct visual checks for any sign of oil leakage.
The SCDF also advises drivers to keep a fire extinguisher so as to promptly put out the fire before it spreads.