Vehicle fires and how to prevent them

James Kon

With the recent surge in the number of vehicle fires in the country, the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) shared several preventive steps.

During a recent press conference, the FRD urged the public against modifying vehicles and the electronic wiring system that are not in accordance with the original specification as well as the capacity of the engine.

The public is also urged to make sure that inspections on the vehicle’s electrical wiring system, engine and mechanical equipment are done by an accredited mechanic before any faults or leakages occur.

These are some of the preventive measures vehicle owners can follow to prevent vehicle fires.

Other preventive measures include being vigilant when obtaining vehicle spare parts that are suitable and safe to use as well as to not leave any belongings in the vehicle, especially items that could cause fire like power banks. While at a petrol station, drivers must turn off their engine, not light cigarettes as well as not use mobile phones as petrol fuel can easily be ignited.

Fire and Rescue Department personnel put out a vehicle fire. PHOTO: JAMES KON

The main cause of vehicle fires outlined by the FRD are mechanical problems like faulty components, leakage of oil hose or ducts of vehicle components and loose connections.

Other causes include human error and negligence, such as lack of knowledge with regard to car component parts, leaving the car engine on for long periods and open burning that spreads to vehicles parked nearby.

Electrical problems in the vehicle include faulty engine electrical components, wiring system, anti-lock braking system and fuse box. The strong impact of an accident can also cause fires.

According to statistics compiled by the FRD, the number of emergency calls received for vehicle fires for April has been the highest when compared to January to March. The total number of vehicles fire cases from January to April this year is at 31.

For January 2020, eight vehicle fire cases were recorded while in February, six calls were received. In March, seven vehicle fire cases were recorded, while in April, 10 incidents of vehicle fires, with two injured persons and an estimated cost of damages at BND101,350.

The FRD noted that as the country is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a different atmosphere in the month of Ramadhan whereby daily outside activities have decreased. Safety measures have been implemented to curb the spread of the virus in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s advice.

The public is urged to be vigilant, especially in fire prevention at home. Members of the public are spending more time indoors and this has increased activities at home.

In light of the situation, the FRD reminded the public not to leave cooking appliances unattended, to always check kitchen cooking components, to avoid electrical circuit overload and to ensure unused electrical items are switched off. The FRD also urged the public to always be aware of the whereabouts of children in the house and not leave senior citizens and special needs individuals unattended at home.

To report any emergency, contact the Fire and Rescue Operation Centre at 995 and provide
accurate information.