Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-1420

An Overview of the U.S. Highway Vehicle Fire Problem 2005-01-1420

Statistics about vehicle fires attended by U.S. fire departments can help prioritize future research and areas for design improvement. Roughly three-fifths of highway vehicle fires result from equipment failure. Although collisions or overturns cause only two percent of the highway vehicle fires, they account for half of the associated fire deaths.
Two-thirds of highway vehicle fires originated in the engine, running gear or wheel area of the vehicle. While only 2% began in the fuel tank or fuel line, these accounted for one-sixth of the fire deaths.
Using national estimates from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPAs) annual fire department survey, this paper will provide an overview of the U.S. highway vehicle fire problem. It will also briefly address implications of changes in vehicle features for emergency responders.


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