Prepared for the Road?
November 25, 2008barriehol
Driving to work the other day I passed a truck that had pulled onto the hard shoulder and was belching smoke from beneath a wheel arch. Although I had the briefest of glimpses I saw the driver was tackling the fire himself with what appeared to be a dry powder fire extinguisher.
Normally the mandatory regulations for carrying fire extinguishers on heavy goods vehicles apply only to “ADR” classified transport. ADR is the term used to describe the “European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)”. Typically this covers the transport of hazardous loads such as chemicals and petroleum products. The rules are very specific. ADR vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are required to carry fire extinguisher capacity up to a total minimum of 12kg dry powder (or equivalent). These vehicles must have a minimum of a 2kg in cab extinguisher which counts toward the total extinguisher capacity of 12kg. One extinguisher must be at least 6kg.
As the vehicle was clearly not in this classification it illustrated that having the means to tackle a fire was a sensible precaution for any vehicle -including the humble motorist.
Too few motorists consider the risk of fire or carry emergency equipment for their personal safety in the event of accident or breakdown.
Small compact fire extinguishers range from inexpensive disposable 0.6kg Dry Powder units that will fit in a car glove compartment, to 1kg and 2kg refillable dry powder extinguishers that can be easily accommodated in the car interior or bracketed in the boot. It’s true that many higher range cars have first aid kits built in but for the majority that don’t our pre-packed kits start from as little as £4.49 + vat.
Another potentially lifesaving device is the emergency “Lifehammer” that will break through a laminated toughened window glass should an accident render the doors inoperable. To cover all the bases we would also advise all motorists to carry a reflective hazard warning triangle. Some means of light is also advisable –for example to illuminate during a wheel change or to attract attention. Carrying a torch is one solution but over time batteries can degrade. An alternative is the emergency light stick which you simply bend snap and shake to emit light for up to 12 hours.
When next planning a journey by car consider how well you are prepared for the potential hazards and visit Fire and Safety Centre for your solutions.