Basic Firefighting: Vehicle Firefighting

Attacking a fire involving a motor vehicle should be no different than attacking a fire in a structure. Basic hose handling and attack techniques are used.

Session Reference:

Topic: Basic Firefighting: Vehicle Firefighting

Time Required: 6 Hours

Materials:

• Slide or Overhead Projector and Screen

• Brady Vehicle Fire Slides or Transparencies

• Video Tape "Vehicle Fires" Media Resources

• 3-4 Automobiles

• Excelsior or Untreated Straw

• Fully Equipped Fire Engine (may need two)

References:

• Essentials of Fire Fighting, 4th ed., International Fire Service Training Association

Preparation

Motivation:

Objective (SPO): The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of the techniques to gain access and control and suppress a fire involving a motor vehicle using basic fire suppression and vehicle rescue techniques.

Overview: Basic Firefighting: Vehicle Firefighting

• Vehicle Construction

• Size Up

• Apparatus Placement

• Water Supply

• Safety

• Hoseline Placement

• Exposure Protection Priorities

• Special Considerations

• Practical Exercises

 

Basic Firefighting: Vehicle Firefighting

SPO 1-1 The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of the techniques to gain access and control and suppress a fire involving a motor vehicle using basic fire suppression and vehicle rescue techniques.

EO 1-1 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of motor vehicle construction and the inherent problems that are present when such a vehicle is involved in a fire.

EO 1-2 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of scene size up for an incident involving a motor vehicle fire.

EO 1-3 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of apparatus placement for a fire involving a motor vehicle.

EO 1-4 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the water supply requirements for a fire involving a motor vehicle.

EO 1-5 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the scene safety requirements and considerations at a fire involving a motor vehicle.

EO 1-6 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of hoseline placement at a fire involving a motor vehicle.

EO 1-7 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of exposure protection priorities for a fire involving a motor vehicle.

EO 1-8 Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the special considerations for a fire involving a motor vehicle.

EO 1-9 Demonstrate the proper techniques to gain access and suppress a fire involving a motor vehicle.

 

Instructional Guide

· Vehicle Construction (1-1)

Vehicle Components

     • Body

         • Metal - sheet metal over structural supports

         • Fiberglass on metal frame

         • Plastic in fenders and around bumpers

     • Frame

         • Standard - frame rails

         • Unibody - integrated body support

     • Means of access

         • Doors - front, rear, and hatchback

         • Windows - front, side, rear

         • Hood - hinged front or rear

         • Trunk - usually in rear

         • Wheel wells

         • Lights - head lights and tail lights

----------------------

Inherent Problems

     • Toxic gases from burning components

     • Batteries - acid and pressure which could result in an explosion

     • Bumpers - shock absorbers

     • Driveshaft - hollow tubes

     • Catalytic converters - source of ignition

     • Pressurized fuel systems - spray fuel vapors under pressure

     • Tires - pressure that could be released with explosive force and fuel (rubber burns)

     • Glass - breaking characteristics(tempered vs. safety)

     • Electrical shock hazard - battery cables and various electrical components

     • High pressure systems - hydraulic and air brake lines on trucks

     • Airbags - multiple locations dependent upon vehicle

     • Cooling systems - freon under pressure (freon produces toxic vapors when heated)

----------------------

Fire Transmission

     • Interior features

        • Seats - upholstery and padding (fire could be deep-seated and smolder before

          bursting into flames)

        • Carpeting - may melt rather than burn

        • Dashboard - plastic with wiring concealed behind

        • Plastic - gauges, interior molding

        • Insulation - conceal fire

        • Sleeping area in large trucks - additional people and combustibles

----------------------

     Potential fire locations

        • Engine compartment

           • Carburetor

           • Wiring in ignition system

           • Air Cleaner

        • Passenger compartment

        • Trunk

        • Brake and tire areas on large trucks

        • Truck beds - from discarded smoking materials

----------------------

Fuels

      • Gasoline - low flash point

      • Diesel - higher flash point

      • Gasohol - may require special extinguishing agents

      • Propane/LNG - presence may not be obvious

      • Electricity - may require special extinguishing agents

----------------------

Gaining Access

     • Doors

        • Locked or unlocked - conventional or electric locks - check all doors

        • Cut sheet metal to expose lock

        • May be able to force door with conventional tools

     • Windows

        • Front windshield - safety glass

        • Side and rear windows - tempered glass

        • Glass may melt or explode

     • Hood

        • Internal latch release that melts easily

        • External release of latch - may require being in close proximity to vehicle

        • Forcing sheet metal on side of hood to cool down before forcing latch

        • Secure hood from closing - springs may collapse when heated

      • Trunk

        • Key to gain access

        • Forcing sheet metal on side to cool down

        • Displacing lock assembly by forcing lock and opening trunk with haligan bar

          point or screwdriver

     • Wheel wells

        • Locating existing openings

        • Making openings

        • Will require getting low to force water into engine compartment

     • Lights

        • Head lights - force entry tool through light so that nozzle can be inserted to cool

          motor

        • Front turn signals - alternative means of accessing motor compartment

        • Tail lights - force entry tool through light so that nozzle can be inserted to cool

          trunk area

----------------------

 

II. Size Up (1-2)

Auto fire

     • Simple auto fire with no exposures

     • Auto fire in or near structure

     • Auto fire near other automobiles

     • Victims still in vehicle on fire

----------------------

Auto accident

     • Auto on fire

     • Potential for auto to ignite after arrival

     • Victims still in vehicle

     • Exposures

----------------------

Time of day

----------------------

Weather/season

----------------------

Staffing/equipment

     • May more than one engine for certain areas or types of vehicles

     • Should have adequate staffing to place at least one attack line in service with a

       preference to a secondary line to protect exposures

     • Should consider an EMS unit

----------------------

Location

     • Limited access

     • Apparatus from both directions on duel highways

----------------------

Additional help

----------------------

Suspicious fire

     • Smoke color

     • Fire extent

     • Preserve evidence

     • Call investigator

        • Arson increases during poor economy

        • Motive to collect insurance

     • Interviews

----------------------

III. Apparatus Placement (1-3)

Upgrade - should be 100 to 150 feet away from fire

Upwind

Consider traffic and safety of personnel

Watch for downed wires - accidents

Access for additional apparatus (tankers)

Safety - regarding traffic patterns

----------------------

 

IV. Water Supply (1-4)

Booster tank - adequate on most vehicle fires but should have a minimum of 500 gallons

Hydrant

Static source - may require more than one piece of apparatus

Tankers/other pumpers

----------------------

 

V. Safety (1-5)

Account for all personnel

Protective clothing

Breathing apparatus

Correct approach

     • 45 degrees of vehicle

     • Stay away from front or rear bumpers

     • Separate fire from uninvolved areas and victims

     • Sweep fuel burning underneath vehicle

Area security - 100 foot perimeter around vehicle

Vehicle security - accidents

Spectators/firelines/police assistance

----------------------

 

VI. Hoseline Placement (1-6)

Use 1-1/2" lines or greater

Rescue - protect occupants first

Overpower fire in passenger unit

Maintain escape route in case of change in wind direction or fire intensity

Protect exposures next

      • Other autos

      • Buildings

Cool fuel tanks

Attack fire (extinguishment)

Have hose line available for overhaul

----------------------

 

VII. Exposure Protection Priorities (1-7)

Life/rescue

Distance between fire and uninvolved areas

Value - items of higher value should be protected first when having to choose

Wind direction - may change direction smoke and flame travel

Construction - some exposures more easily ignited than others

----------------------

 

VIII. Special Considerations (1-8)

Ambulances/first aid for injured (helicopters)

Cargo - private auto

Trunks

     • Spray paint and closed containers

     • Gasoline

     • Ammunition

Cargo - commercial carriers

Bills of lading

     • Manifests

     • Driver may have in possession

Identify contents/Chemtrec 800-434-9300 - presence of hazardous materials may affect planning of apparatus and overall strategy and tactics

VW engines - magnesium metals

----------------------

 

Practical Exercises (1-9)

NOTE: Instructor may want to demonstrate techniques prior to student practice.

Gaining access to vehicle

      • Doors

         • Locked or unlocked - conventional or electric locks

         • Cut sheet metal to expose lock

     • Windows

         • Front windshield - safety glass

         • Side and rear windows - tempered glass

          • Glass melting or exploding

     • Hood

         • Internal latch release

         • External release of latch

         • Forcing sheet metal

         • Secure hood from closing - springs may collapse when heated

     • Trunk

         • Key to gain access

         • Forcing sheet metal

         • Displacing lock assembly

      • Wheel wells

         • Locating existing openings

         • Making openings

       • Lights

         • Head lights

         • Front turn signals

         • Tail lights

----------------------

Attacking Fires in Engine Compartment

     • Adequate water supply

     • Adequate staffing

     • Adequate attack line capability

     • Safe approach

     • Gain access to fire area

     • Proper attack techniques - stream and application

----------------------

Attacking Fires in Passenger Compartment

     • Adequate water supply

     • Adequate staffing

     • Adequate attack line capability

     • Safe approach

     • Gain access to fire area

     • Proper attack techniques - stream and application

----------------------

Maintaining Escape Route - Watch Hose Handling Making Attack and Backing Out

----------------------

Overhauling

----------------------

Summary

Review:

Basic Firefighting: Vehicle Firefighting

• Vehicle Construction

• Size Up

• Apparatus Placement

• Water Supply

• Safety

• Hoseline Placement

• Exposure Protection Priorities

• Special Considerations

• Practical Exercises

Remotivation: Attacking a fire involving a motor vehicle should be no different than attacking a fire in a structure. Basic hose handling and attack techniques are used. Conventional forcible entry tools can be used to gain access to the passenger compartment, trunk, and hood.

Loading