Effective Fire Protection Systems for Vehicles 2006-01-0792
Fire safety is an important issue on any vehicle. Generally vehicle occupants and flammable materials are in close proximity and it is not always easy or practical for the occupants to move away in the event of a fire. A properly designed on-board, pre-engineered fire protection system can significantly mitigate the effects of a vehicle fire, including saving lives and reducing property losses. But such fire protection systems may not be appropriate for all vehicles. In any case, a properly designed system depends on the threat being well understood. Additionally, vehicle real-estate tradeoffs-including weight, size, cost and environmental factors-must be considered. When a fire protection system is appropriate, the type and configuration of the optimum system varies widely and will depend on the vehicle and its intended use. While fire protection systems are an established feature on some heavy-duty vehicles, they are not commonly installed on automobiles, largely because automobile fires, especially those that occur after a collision, are not well understood and differ from fires on heavy-duty vehicles. This paper discusses key issues involved with developing effective onboard, pre-engineered fire protection systems for vehicles.