Lotus Type 50 - Elan +2
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If you suspect a fire!

Fire, some thoughts on what to do if you suspect a fire

Its worth developing a plan to handle suspected fires under the bonnet and to practice it,
(without actually setting the car on fire)
Fire needs three components for the car to burn :

  • Combustible material ( gasoline, the plastic body and the upholstery to say nothing of the contents including people)
  • oxygen (21% volume in air)
  • and a source of ignition; either an electric spark or a hot metal surface will do. The auto-ignition temperature of gasoline is 550-650 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus a hot manifold could well cause problems if sprayed with gasoline in air.

Your plan should consider the following points:

If you smell burning or if you see a trail of smoke behind the car....

  • Firstly if you suspect a problem pull over and stop at a safe location. Hazard lights on and engine off. The engine is adding fuel and air (fan) to the potential problem
  • Everybody out. Yes it may be raining, Yes it may be a sleeping baby etc. Sitting strapped next to a tank of gasoline is not desirable when there is a potential fire. Make sure they are all out safely and clear of on-coming traffic. Don’t forget the mobile phone to phone for the fire brigade.
  • Do not be in a hurry to lift the bonnet for a look until the engine has cooled down. Lifting the lid could just provide the air to a stifled fire.
  • Fire extinguishers need to be handy, adequate for the job and current. You also need to know how to activate them ( safety pin out) and how to smother the fire. Read the instructions. If you can't put the fire out quickly, then get well clear and don't let anybody get close.
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