Is it safe to keep a fire extinguisher in the car? Find 6 reasons to do so!

Fire extinguisher safety in a car

So, you bought a new fire extinguisher or are planning to buy one but wondering ‘is it safe to keep a fire extinguisher in the car’? The answer is yes and no.

Fire extinguishers are beneficial safety units for a car. In unexpected and dangerous fire circumstances, this is one metal object that every car owner should possess.

Fire extinguishers are very much safe however, lack of regular maintenance, improper installation, and the wrong type of fire extinguishers can be hazardous.

In this post, we will see the causes and find out if the fire extinguisher is really safe to keep in a car.

Is it safe to keep a fire extinguisher in the car?

Fire extinguishers are absolutely safe to keep in a car provided you follow certain processes and precautions.

First of all, it is important to carry a fire extinguisher that is lightweight so that it is easily movable. Secondly, the size of a fire extinguisher matters to keep it in the right place.

Next, a fire extinguisher should be installed in a safe, and secure place. Always follow the guidelines and instructions to get familiar with the usage of fire extinguishers.

Last but not least, fire extinguishers need timely maintenance in terms of refilling and insulation to avoid explosions and damage.

Abiding by the above factors, there is no doubt you can keep yourself and the fire extinguisher completely safe in a car.

The safety of fire extinguishers is also prone to accidents and the condition of your vehicle.

Let’s elaborate on all the factors to get a clear picture of keeping a fire extinguisher in the car!

Type of fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers come in different types to handle different levels of fire. Normally, a car fire does not cross the limits of a powder/foam-based fire extinguisher which should be an ideal choice.

Types of fire extinguishers

Such extinguishers are capable of handling type A/B/C fires which cover almost everything including plastic, wood, paper, gasoline, and electrical fires.

Carrying bigger fire extinguisher vessels demand larger space. Such units are a burden in small and compact cars. If the type of fire extinguisher is over-qualified for small car fires it becomes difficult to carry and install them.

A wrong type of fire extinguisher may increase the problems rather than solve them. It may also pose safety hazards in the long run.

Size of fire extinguisher

Similar to the type, fire extinguishers also come in different sizes. The sizes vary from 2.5 to 5 and go up to 10 pounds or more.

No surprise that a fire extinguisher weighing 2.5 pounds is enough to douse small car fires. You can also consider 5 and 10 pounds but it depends on the size of your vehicle. Normally, heavier fire extinguishers are appropriate for heavy vehicles.

It should be noted that heavier/bigger fire extinguishers contain carbon dioxide which can have adverse effects on small fires. So, instead of preventing the fire, it can further damage your vehicle putting your safety in danger.

Installation

Improper installation is another factor that poses a safety risk. Some people completely deny the process of installation and rather believe in just carrying the fire extinguisher and placing it anywhere in the car.

This should not be the case. Fire extinguishers are filled with chemical liquids and gases that can self-explode in case of mishandling or misuse. It may not bode well with your car’s security if you have a fire vessel rolling or moving in the car abundantly.

Such movement can result in physical contact or mishaps with other elements of your vehicle. If by accident, the seal of the pin gets unlocked or broken it may begin discharging the chemicals which could affect your health.

It is therefore a best practice to install a fire extinguisher properly in the right place.

While choosing an installation place, make sure the area is not susceptible to outside weather conditions such as excessive heat or cold. This can cause the extinguisher to malfunction creating safety hazards.

Lastly, always use the mounting bracket to install a fire extinguisher. The brackets are useful in keeping the fire extinguisher fixed, balanced, and unmovable which improves safety.

Maintenance

Fire extinguishers have a limit to survival. Although, fire extinguishers carry an expiry date it doesn’t mean you have to completely replace the unit. The metal tank never expires.

What it needs is proper inspection and testing depending on its usage. In other words, you have to take care of the maintenance a fire extinguisher requires.

Fire extinguishers, if not used for a long time need special attention. This is because A/B/C extinguishers contain powder/foam that tends to freeze or gather at the bottom of the tank.

If this is not properly maintained, the pressure in the fire extinguisher could lead to a dangerous explosion. Try shaking the tank upside down, if you hear the powder noise it’s good to go otherwise, take it to a licensed professional for proper inspection.

Secondly, every fire extinguisher is required to go through periodic hydro testing in order to keep it defect-free. Lastly, refilling or recharging is necessary to keep the fire extinguisher ready for the next use.

These are the factors you must always consider while keeping a fire extinguisher. Any negligence in periodical inspection and timely maintenance can make the equipment defective which could lead to potential hazards.

Usage

Just keeping the fire extinguisher in a car is useless if you don’t know how to use it. While the usage is not very complicated, rough handling and misuse could make a fire extinguisher vulnerable to defects and defective pieces are always dangerous.

Using a fire extinguisher

Aim for a fire extinguisher that is easy to access and use.

It usually works in four steps- pulling the pin, aiming the fire location, releasing the retardant by squeezing the handle, and sweeping every side to douse the fire.

Usage is the reason you must oblige to the type, size, and maintenance of a fire extinguisher.

Fire is a panicky situation where people tend to overreact in a haste. Using the wrong type of fire extinguishers to control small fires, and misdirecting the target of fire location are some examples of wrong usage.

Therefore, one should have hands-on training and some practicality using fire extinguishers. If you cannot find dedicated training sessions, watch some YouTube videos to get an idea. This will give you some confidence and familiarity while using the fire extinguisher.

Here is a simple, and small video to understand and use a fire extinguisher easily:

Accidents

In an unexpected situation of accidents, any damage done to fire extinguishers can lead to serious consequences.

Fire extinguishers are pressurized metal tanks that can explode under extremely hot conditions. This is only possible if your car is badly crashed and engulfed with fire that reaches non-tolerable Fahrenheit.

Obviously, not an ideal situation to remain in the car but your fire extinguisher can become a deciding factor between a small and explosive fire.

Final thoughts

There is no denying the importance and value of fire extinguishers and the role they play in reducing the impact of fire in automobiles.

In practicality, fire extinguishers are exceptionally safe to carry and use. The problem starts when the above-listed points are not adhered to while keeping a fire extinguisher in the car.

It is of the utmost importance to keep the fire extinguisher in a place where it is easily accessible.

Make sure the size is not too heavy, the unit is properly maintained, and stored in a secure location. Finally, learn the process to use the fire extinguisher appropriately.

By taking these steps, I am sure you will find a fire extinguisher extremely safe and an invaluable tool in the event of an emergency.

If you find any other reason that makes fire extinguishers unsafe in the car do highlight them by leaving your valuable feedback and comments.

Arif

A driving enthusiast since 2006! I am also the author and owner of THECARPLUS.

I spend time behind the steering when I am not in front of a computer.

In my spare time, I get involved with the technicians who work on my car as and when needed.
The information you get on this website is part of the knowledge I gain through these professionals as well as further research done by me personally.

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