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2.21.1 – Causes of Fire

The following are some causes of vehicle fires:

  • After Accidents. Spilled fuel, improper use of flares.
  • Tires. Under-inflated tires and duals that touch.
  • Electrical System. Short circuits due to damaged insulation, loose connections.
  • Fuel. Driver smoking, improper fueling, loose fuel connections.
  • Cargo. Flammable cargo, improperly sealed or loaded cargo, poor ventilation.

2.21.2 – Fire Prevention

Pay attention to the following:

  • Pre-trip Inspection. Make a complete inspection of the electrical, fuel and exhaust systems, tires and cargo. Be sure to check that the fire extinguisher is charged.
  • En Route Inspection. Check the tires, wheels and truck body for signs of heat whenever you stop during a trip.
  • Follow Safe Procedures. Follow correct safety procedures for fueling the vehicle, using brakes, handling flares and other activities that can cause a fire.
  • Monitoring. Check the instruments and gauges often for signs of overheating and use the mirrors to look for signs of smoke from tires or the vehicle.
  • Caution. Use normal caution in handling anything flammable.

2.21.3 – Fire Fighting

Knowing how to fight fires is important. Drivers who are not prepared have made fires worse. Know how the fire extinguisher works. Study the instructions printed on the extinguisher before you need it. Here are some procedures to follow in case of fire.

Pull Off the Road. The first step is to get the vehicle off the road and stop. In doing so:

  • Park in an open area, away from buildings, trees, brush, other vehicles or anything that might catch fire.
  • Do not pull into a service station.
  • Notify emergency services of your problem and your location.

Keep the Fire from Spreading. Before trying to put out the fire, make sure that it does not spread any further.

  • With an engine fire, turn off the engine as soon as you can. Do not open the hood if you can avoid it. Shoot foam through louvers, radiator or from the vehicle’s underside.
  • For a cargo fire in a van or box trailer, keep the doors shut, especially if your cargo contains hazardous materials. Opening the van doors will supply the fire with oxygen and can cause it to burn very fast.

Extinguish the Fire. Here are some rules to follow in putting out a fire:

  • When using the extinguisher, stay as far away from the fire as possible.
  • Aim at the source or base of the fire, not up in the flames.

Use the Right Fire Extinguisher.

  • The B:C type fire extinguisher is designed to work on electrical fires and burning liquids.
  • The A:B:C type is designed to work on burning wood, paper and cloth as well.
  • Water can be used on wood, paper or cloth, but do not use water on an electrical fire (can cause shock) or a gasoline fire (it will spread the flames).
  • A burning tire must be cooled. Lots of water may be required.
  • If you are not sure what to use, especially on a hazardous materials fire, wait for firefighters.
  • Position yourself upwind. Let the wind carry the extinguisher to the fire.
  • Continue until whatever was burning has been cooled. Absence of smoke or flame does not mean the fire cannot restart.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #178 (1 of 6)

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If you have an engine fire or a fire in the trailer:

  • Make sure you have a type 3 fire extinguisher
  • Get into a service station as quickly as possible to put it out
  • Disconnect the tractor from the trailer and move it away from the trailer
  • Do not open the hood or the cargo doors

With an engine fire, turn off the engine as soon as you can. Do not open the hood if you can avoid it. Shoot foam through louvers, radiator or from the vehicle’s underside.

For a cargo fire in a van or box trailer, keep the doors shut, especially if your cargo contains hazardous materials. Opening the van doors will supply the fire with oxygen and can cause it to burn very fast.

You do not want to open the hood or the trailer doors if there is a fire. You will supply more oxygen to the fire. Keep the hood or the trailer doors closed.
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Question #179 (2 of 6)

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The B:C type fire extinguisher is designed to work on:

  • plastics and recyclables
  • metals or combustible gases
  • wood, paper, or cardboard
  • electrical fires and burning liquids
The B:C type fire extinguisher is designed to work on electrical fires and burning liquids
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Question #177 (3 of 6)

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If you have a vehicle fire you should not:

  • Park in an open area, away from buildings, trees, brush, other vehicles or anything that might catch fire.
  • Notify emergency services
  • Get the vehicle off the road and stopped
  • Pull into a service station.

Pull Off the Road. The first step is to get the vehicle off the road and stop. In doing so:

  • Park in an open area, away from buildings, trees, brush, other vehicles or anything that might catch fire.
  • Do not pull into a service station.
  • Notify emergency services of your problem and your location.
You do not want to pull a burning vehicle into a service station that has gasoline pumps and may be crowded with people.
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Question #182 (4 of 6)

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When using a fire extinguisher:

  • Stay as far away from the fire as possible and aim at the source or base of the fire, not up in the flames
  • Get downwind from the fire and spay the extinguisher toward the center of the flame
  • Get as near to the fire as possible and aim at the base of the flame
  • Get upwind from the fire and as close as possible to the fire for maximum effectiveness

Extinguish the Fire. Here are some rules to follow in putting out a fire:

  • When using the extinguisher, stay as far away from the fire as possible.
  • Aim at the source or base of the fire, not up in the flames.
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Question #180 (5 of 6)

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The A:B:C type fire extinguisher is designed to work on:

  • wood, paper, or cardboard
  • Electrical fires and burning liquids, burning wood, paper, and cloth
  • plastics and recyclables
  • metals or combustible gases
The A:B:C type is designed to work on burning wood, paper and cloth as well as electrical fires and burning liquids
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Question #181 (6 of 6)

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Water can be used on wood, paper or cloth, but do not use water on:

  • A tire fire (too hot)
  • An electrical fire (can cause shock) or a gasoline fire (it will spread the flames)
  • A paper fire (dangerous fumes)
  • A cardboard fire (dangerous fumes, too much heat)
Water can be used on wood, paper or cloth, but do not use water on an electrical fire (can cause shock) or a gasoline fire (it will spread the flames)
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