Vehicle fire safety tips from the Washington State Fire Marshal

According to the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office, there were a total of 17,565 fires involving vehicles from 2018 to 2022, for a total loss of over $181 million. Vehicle fires accounted for over 13% of fire incidents reported between 2018 and 2022.

If your vehicle catches on fire, the fire marshal’s office offers the following tips:

  • Pull over as quickly as you can when it is safe to do so.
  • Once you have stopped, turn off the engine.
  • Get everyone out of the vehicle. Never return to a burning vehicle and do not try to fight the fire yourself.
  • Call 911 immediately.
  • If you think there is a fire under the hood or trunk, do not open it. This could cause the fire to grow and result in burn injuries.
  • Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning vehicle and well away from traffic.

To prevent a vehicle fire:

  • Have your car serviced regularly by a qualified mechanic.
  • Keep gas cans or propane tanks separated from passengers.  Tightly seal and place them on a flat surface to make sure they stay upright.
  • If you must put gas cans or propane tanks inside your vehicle, keep windows open to stop fumes from building up.
  • Drive safely to avoid an accident.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for using and charging electric vehicles. Install a residual current device with your electric vehicle charger. It will shut off the power if it detects an electrical fault.

For more information, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-596-3929

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