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Minuteman Trucks Blog

Article Source: idealease.com | September 2017 |

October 8-14 Fire Prevention Week

National Fire Prevention Week is coming and it is a good time to review with your drivers how to prevent fires and how to react to a fire that occurs in their commercial motor vehicle.

Fire extinguisher inspection is a vital part of a driver’s daily vehicle inspection process. It amazes me how many times I will be looking at a truck and find the fire extinguisher has lost its pressure due to a leak or it was used and returned to the truck without being recharged. The actions of a driver at the time of a fire are crucial in saving lives and controlling the amount of loss.

When a fire occurs in a commercial motor vehicle the driver has to know two things:

  1. Knowledge about fires.
  2. How to operate a fire extinguisher.

Fire safety and fire extinguisher operation should be part of every driver’s orientation program.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations require that all commercial motor vehicles have a fire extinguisher on board that is of the correct size, type and properly secured and labeled. Did you know that a CMV with hazardous materials is required to have a different size extinguisher than those not carrying hazardous material?

Here are the requirements for § 393.95 Emergency equipment on all power units:

Each truck, truck tractor, and bus (except those towed in driveaway – towaway operations) must be equipped as follows:

  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Minimum Ratings

A power unit that is used to transport hazardous materials must be equipped with either:

  • A fire extinguisher having an Underwriters’ Laboratories rating of 10 B:C or more.

Labeling and Marketing: Each fire extinguisher required by this section must be labeled or marked by the manufacturer with its Underwriters’ Laboratories rating.

Visual Indicator: The fire extinguisher must be designed, constructed and maintained to permit visual determination of whether it is fully charged.

Condition, Location and Mounting: The fire extinguisher(s) must be filled and located so that it is readily accessible for use. The extinguisher(s) must be securely mounted to prevent sliding, rolling or vertical movement relative to the motor vehicle.

When a Fire occurs in a Commercial Motor Vehicle the driver should take the following actions:

  1. Get the truck off of the roadway and into an open area if possible. Park away from buildings, trees, vehicles or anything else that may catch fire.
  2. Call 911 on your cell phone to report the fire and location.
  3. If the fire is already to a size that cannot be extinguished get away from the truck. Your life and the life of the general public is your first responsibility.
  4. If you are operating a tractor trailer and can safely disconnect the trailer from the tractor do so as not to damage both units and cargo in the fire
  5. If the engine is on fire turn off the engine as soon as possible.
  6. Do not open the hood if possible and try to extinguish the fire from the louvers, radiator or underside of the truck. Opening the hood will provide additional oxygen to fire and it will increase at a more rapid rate.
  7. If the fire is in your trailer or cargo box of the truck keep the doors shut. Here again additional oxygen will increase the intensity of the fire.
  8. A tire fire will not likely be extinguished with a fire extinguisher. Try throwing dirt or sand on the tire to smother the fire.

What you can do to prevent the likelihood of a fire starting in your Commercial Motor Vehicle:

  1. Complete a thorough pre and post trip inspection daily of the fuel, electrical, exhausts systems, tires and cargo of your truck.
  2. Keep the unit clean from excess grease, fuel and oil.
  3. Monitor your dash gauges while in operation for signs of overheating.
  4. Utilize your mirrors for signs of smoke or flames.
  5. With new Post Emission 2007 and newer units be aware of regeneration of the after treatment program and where the regeneration occurs as exhaust temperatures reach high levels of heat.
  6. Know the cargo that you have on board and its fire potential.

Have You and Your Employees “Bought” into Safety:

A number of years ago, after a driver safety meeting, a driver approached me and commented that he knew how to drive safely. He stated that he had not had any accidents and knew what to do in case of an accident, so why was I so intent on “selling” safety to him every chance I have? I told him that the most important sale I could ever make would be your life and safety. You may not be in a buying mood today, but later on- tomorrow, next week, next year, it may be too late. By “buying” into safety, your actions may keep others alive as well as yourself!

This is what it will cost you to “buy” into Safety:

  • Two seconds to fasten your seat belt.
  • Ten minutes for a thorough Pre-trip inspection.
  • Ten seconds to make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted.
  • Wait until you are at a safe place to talk on the phone and let the call go to voice mail.
  • Eight hours to get proper rest.
  • Thirty seconds to clean the trash from your vehicle at the end of your trip or route.
  • Keep your mind on your driving.
  • A fraction of a second to flip on your turn signal.
  • Two minutes to walk around your entire vehicle while fueling or stopped to make sure it is in safe order.
  • Leave on time and allow extra time for adverse weather conditions.
  • Slow down in poor weather conditions such as fog, rain, snow or ice.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Expect the unexpected.

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