Post-collision fires in road vehicles, a pre-study

3 June 2016  •  Author(s): SP Fire Research

The loss of human lives and body injuries as a consequence of post-crash fires either by smoke inhalation or due to burn injuries are unfortunately not uncommon. In a report released by SP Fire Research, information indicates that fire events related to crashes are still a significant problem.

Post-collision fires in road vehicles

The increased combustible load in newer vehicles is an important factor to be taken into account for fire safety, as well as their potential to release toxic fumes while burning. Trends indicate that the survivable collision energy will continue to increase and, at the same time, the probability of post-crash fires rises with the collision energy. This means that the occupants of a vehicle may probably survive a high energy collision but will sustain severe injuries or death due to a post-collision fire.

SP Fire Research has carried out a pre-study where a literature survey about post-crash fires was carried out including statistics on the causes and dynamics of post-crash fires in road vehicles based on the literature, crash and incident reports as well as on interviews with medical specialists. Furthermore, a study about current fire legislation, environmental aspects of fires and a literature study on materials used for the manufacturing of vehicles and their relation to post-crash fires are included.
Results from the study indicate that fires in vehicles which originate due to a collision are a problem that needs solving and more research is needed.

The SP Report 2015:55 can be downloaded here.

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