Managing the Spreading Fire Risk in Trucks

Losing one vehicle due to fire can be a costly and disruptive event. Losing a fleet of vehicles due to fire spreading to several vehicles parked close together could prove catastrophic. Prevention is always far better than cure. So what steps can a fleet operator take to reduce the likelihood of fire, be it accidental or deliberate, breaking out in one vehicle and spreading to many others?

Infrared thermography

Electrical faults are a key cause of vehicle fires. This points to the need to regularly check and service the vehicle electrical system including the battery. Infrared thermography may be a tool that could help an experienced auto-electrician detect faults in electrical circuits that may otherwise go undetected.

Automatic vehicle fire suppression systems

The installation of automatic vehicle fire suppression systems may be an appropriate step, particularly for those operating high value or hard-to-replace vehicles or plant. For hauliers operating trucks with sleeper-cabs, such systems and / or purpose built in-cab smoke alarm systems could also address a significant health and safety risk.

Tightening security to protect commercial vehicles

Fleet operators should take precautions to minimise the risk of an arson attack. Perimeter security needs to be sound. Good lighting is an important deterrent. CCTV installation may be a wise investment. Parking areas need to be kept clear of combustible materials and waste such as pallets that could be used by an arsonist as fuel.

Given the aggregate value of a substantial fleet of business-dependent commercial vehicles, the installation of video smoke and flame detection systems covering the area where vehicles are parked, linked to a fire alarm monitoring service, may one day prove a worthwhile investment.

Fire safety for commercial vehicles

To lessen the risk of fire spreading between vehicles or from vehicles to premises, a several-metre separation distance may be appropriate, though not always entirely practical. A degree of compartmentalisation within the yard through the construction of appropriate fire-break walls may be necessary, providing vehicles can still manoeuvre. It may even be appropriate to consider spreading the parking up of a fleet of vehicles between more than one location to lessen the fire accumulation risk.

Insurance for managing vehicle-spreading fire risk

Ask your property insurer if they would be willing to carry out a fire and security survey that includes advice and recommendations about managing the vehicle-spreading fire risk. The Fire Service may also be able to offer advice on a fee-paying basis.

Fire safety and evacuation planning

Finally, should a fire break out during working hours when staff are on-site, the implementation of a well thought-out and regularly rehearsed fire safety and evacuation plan is essential and could prove a life-saver.

Truck insurance from Towergate

Sometimes the worst happens, no matter how much care you've taken to prevent fires. Having insurance in place for your truck means that you're prepared for when things go wrong.

Call for a quote on 0344 346 1418 or request a quote online. Alternatively, read more about our truck insurance and what we cover.

For larger vehicle fleets, we also offer fleet insurance.

All cover is subject to normal underwriting terms and conditions.

This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.

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