UAE introduces Safety Tips to Prevent Cars from Catching Fire amid Summer heat

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates are warning drivers to check the condition of their vehicles to reduce the likelihood of fires when temperatures surpass 50 oC.

Rising temperatures and vehicle fire risks in the UAE

The recent viral films of automobiles on fire have heightened public awareness of the need to take extra precautions when driving in extremely hot weather, and this warning is a response to that.

Fire and automobile experts emphasize the importance of understanding the risks and implementing preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of accidental vehicle fires. Sam Malins, Group CEO of Reaction Fire Suppression, highlights that poor maintenance is the primary cause of vehicle fires. Neglected engine compartments are particularly susceptible to catching fire. Malins strongly recommends that vehicle owners get their cars serviced and checked before the peak summer heat, ensuring all manufacturer recalls are addressed promptly.

Motorists are advised to carry out regular maintenance and inspections, keeping an eye on water and oil levels. Key preventive steps include securely closing the fuel tank cap, refraining from smoking near a heated car, turning off the engine when refueling, and keeping a fire extinguisher and first aid kit in the vehicle. Motoring expert Sony Rajappan notes that high temperatures can cause engine overheating, which may lead to fires due to fuel vaporization and dangerous vapor buildup. Rajappan recommends ensuring the presence of a mandatory fire extinguisher in every vehicle.

Advanced Fire Prevention Measures

Apart from a fire extinguisher, installing an automatic fire suppression system is a proactive measure. These systems detect and suppress fires automatically within seconds, are easy to install, and are inexpensive to maintain. Malins adds that vehicle fires typically start in the engine compartment and progress slowly, giving occupants enough time to escape, except in collision scenarios.

Monitoring for fluid leaks

Preventing vehicle fires involves vigilant maintenance, such as watching for fluid leaks, cracked hoses, and faulty wiring. Malins advises against throwing cigarette butts carelessly and staying alert to changes in vehicle sounds or visible exhaust plumes, as these could indicate potential problems with the exhaust and emission control systems.

Emergency Response to Vehicle Fires

In the event of a vehicle fire, Malins stresses the importance of staying calm and acting swiftly. Motorists should pull over safely, evacuate everyone, turn off the ignition, and move at least 30 meters away from the vehicle. It is crucial to alert emergency services immediately and avoid re-entering the vehicle. A fire extinguisher can be used cautiously if the fire is small, but opening the hood or trunk should be avoided to prevent exacerbating the fire.

Avoiding Flammable Objects

Motorists should avoid leaving flammable objects in their vehicles, especially during the summer. Items such as battery-operated devices (e.g., mobile phones, e-cigarettes) and flammable liquids (e.g., fuel, hand sanitizers) should be kept out of the car to prevent potential fire hazards.

Insurance Coverage for Fire Damage

According to Anas Mistareehi, CEO of eSanad, cars damaged by fire due to extreme heat are typically covered under comprehensive insurance, not basic third-party liability coverage. Comprehensive insurance protects against non-collision-related incidents, including fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and certain weather conditions. If a car catches fire due to extreme heat, comprehensive insurance should cover the damage. However, determining the cause of a car fire may require a systematic investigation by a loss adjuster to pinpoint the exact cause. Policyholders are advised to carefully review their insurance policies to understand the extent of coverage for fire damage due to environmental factors like extreme heat.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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