Published 05.08.15

Motor Vehicle Fire Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) there were over 187,000 vehicle fires in the US in 2011, causing over 250 civilian deaths. Follow the tips below to prevent a fire in your vehicle and respond appropriately should one occur.
  • Solutions
    • Fire Protection
  • Industries
    • Automotive

To Prevent a Fire

  • Properly maintain your vehicle. According to the NFPA, mechanical and electrical issues are the most common cause of car fires. Be sure to have your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic if it begins running irregularly or is leaking any fluids. Also have preventative maintenance performed regularly.
  • Transport gasoline in small amounts in a properly sealed gas can. Do not transport fuel in the passenger compartment.
  • Avoid smoking in your vehicle.
  • Avoid accidents by driving carefully.
  • Consider placing a fire extinguisher in your car. All commercial vehicles are required to have at least a 5-pound BC dry chemical extinguisher on board or a 10- pound BC extinguisher if the vehicle is carrying hazardous materials (to learn more about extinguisher ratings, click here). Cintas services extinguishers located on commercial vehicles, keeping them compliant with codes and regulations.

If Your Vehicle Catches Fire

  • Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. It takes an average of about 4 minutes for a fire to reach the passenger compartment of a car after beginning in the engine, so it is crucial to get to safety as soon as possible. Make sure to signal appropriately if you must turn or change lanes.
  • Once you have stopped, turn off your engine and get out of the car. Move at least 100 feet from the burning car and away from traffic.
  • Only use an extinguisher to stop a small, contained fire from growing and spreading or to clear a safe path of escape from the vehicle.
  • Call 911 and notify emergency responders of the situation.

Following these simple tips will help you to avoid vehicle fires and escape your vehicle should one occur.


  • On-site assessment to discuss fire protection solutions for your business*
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  • Routine testing, inspection and maintenance of your fire protection equipment*

*Certain services may not be available in all markets