Vehicle fires

Many fires occur in vehicles, specifically racing cars, aircrafts, etc. [54-56]. These high-speed vehicles contain a large amount of combustible liquid (eg, oil, gas) and solid (eg, hose, textile) substances. These substances can easily catch fire in the presence of multiple potential sources of ignition, namely short-circuiting electrical devices, hot exhaust systems, air bag detonators. Fuel leakage from ruptured fuel lines can also rapidly ignite and generate vehicle fires. These fires generate large flames as well as radiant heat due to excessive heating of vehicles’ bodies and other parts. The vehicle body and other parts may also melt if the temperature and heat flux become too high—up to 1000°C with a heat flux of 60-80 kW/m2 [57]. Altogether, the presence of flame, radiant heat, hot liquids, and molten metal substances make vehicle fires dangerous to a living body.

Present scenario on uncontrolled fires in the United States

According to NFPA reports, over 1,240,000 uncontrolled fires occurred in the United States in 2013. A distribution of these fires based on areas of occurrence (undeveloped land/countryside, structural buildings, and vehicles) is shown in Fig. 2.1.

Distribution of the uncontrolled fires in 2013

Fig. 2.1 Distribution of the uncontrolled fires in 2013.

Fig. 2.1 shows that, of the 1,240,000 fires occurring in the United States in 2013, 45.52% (564,500) were land or countryside fires, 39.27% (487,000) structural building fires, and 15.21% (188,500) vehicle fires. These fires resulted in a total of 3240 civilian deaths, 15,925 reported injuries, and an $11.5 billion loss of capital [7]. In order to save human lives and capital loss from such fire incidences, there is a strong need for skilled firefighters. In an uncontrolled fire hazard, firefighters always try to quickly suppress the fire and to rescue property and fire victims. Such working conditions and job responsibilities expose them to various thermal environments.

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