Vehicle Firefighting

Given hazards and extinguishment techniques, the student will be able to demonstrate the process to safely extinguish a vehicle fire. Topic: Vehicle Firefighting Time Required: 2 Hours Materials: • Appropriate visuals...

• Use chocks to prevent lateral vehicle movement

• Use foam as the situation dictates

Application Strategies

• Place stream through the grill or headlight assembly to reach the engine compartment

• Place stream underneath the engine and aim upward to reach the engine compartment

• Use Haligan bar or piercing nozzle to puncture hood and direct stream into engine compartment NOTE: The hood should not be opened until the fire has been knocked since fire will blow out the open area. Once the hood is opened, it should be held open with a tool to prevent accidental closing since the springs may have been damaged by the heat.

• Direct stream to interior and dash areas

• Use entry tool to make opening in taillights to direct stream into trunk

• Use forcible entry tool to pry up hood near fender to direct stream into engine compartment

• Use point of Haligan bar to remove trunk lock and use screwdriver to open trunk

• Open doors and break windows to apply water directly on fire

• Stream patterns will vary between narrow to wide fog patterns depending upon reach and penetration needed

• Always assume presence of second fuel tank

Fire Behavior/Extension

• Engine fires will radiate to passenger areas via steering column and ducts

• Fires burn rapidly and spread to uninvolved areas via internal components


• Search for hidden fires and smoldering materials

• Pull interior walls

• Cargo removed?

• Seats removed?

• Engine compartment/ components checked?

• Rekindles may result if not done


Safety Precautions

• All personnel should be in full protective clothing and using SCBA

• It may be necessary to review hose handling techniques prior to the start of any evolutions

• There should be a continuous supply of water

• Only Class A non-contaminated fuels should be used

• At least one 1-1/2-inch or larger attack line should be used

• The vehicle should be chocked to avoid unexpected movement

• A safety officer must be appointed to oversee the training involving fire

Attack Methodology

• Place attack line(s) in service with equal students on each and one instructor on each.

• Rotate personnel as appropriate

• Prepare to advance, cool, and extinguish

• Charge and advance attack lines

• Narrow streams to cool and knockdown vehicle body, wheels, wheel wells from a distance as you approach

• Narrow nozzle pattern to push fire away from undercarriage of vehicle before attacking fire in engine compartment

• Widen pattern when close to vehicle to increase heat absorption

• Be cautious and alert for post extinguishment flare-ups

• Retreat from vehicle while facing fire area

• Overhaul vehicle if applicable

Vehicle Firefighting

• Safety Hazards

• Extinguishment Techniques

• Fire Attack Practical

Remotivation: While a vehicle fire may not have all the potential danger of a structural fire, it is still a fire involving many unknowns such as contents and vehicle components. It could also include an injured or trapped occupant. Be alert and think before you make a mistake.

Copyright - 2002 Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. All rights reserved.