Best Fire Extinguishers: Top Picks for Vehicle Safety
Keeping a fire extinguisher is a great choice to help keep you safe
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Vehicle fires are all too frequent and can cause incredible damage and even death in some cases. Causes can vary and can include production defects, arson, accidents, and mechanical problems. You want to keep yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle safe from the dangers you may encounter while driving. We've compiled a list of the best fire extinguishers for cars to keep you and your loved ones safe.
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Benefits of Fire Extinguishers
- Safety. The most important benefit of having a car fire extinguisher is your safety and the safety of your passengers. Even if you hope never to use it, having the extra protection for when something bad happens is smart and reassuring.
- Protect your vehicle. Aside from saving the people that are in your car, having a fire extinguisher can also keep the vehicle itself safe. Car fires act quickly and can absolutely devastate your vehicle before emergency services arrive.
- Save money. If your car were to catch fire and you couldn't extinguish it, the entire vehicle could be destroyed. If you can save your car before there is severe damage, you're saving yourself the cost of repairs or replacement.
Types of Fire Extinguisher
The lowest class of fire extinguishers is class A. These are made to put out ordinary combustibles, such as paper, wood, and plastics. The key component of these extinguishers is mono-ammonium phosphate. It's essential to pay attention to the rating an extinguisher has because they can be made for one specific type of fire or have the ability to put multiple different kinds.
The second classification for fire extinguishers deals with flammable liquids. This covers things like gasoline, oil, and paint—which are common in garage and vehicle fires. While car fires aren't usually started with the fuel, these liquids are present throughout the vehicle and can quickly escalate a fire. These extinguishers can use either mono-ammonium phosphate or sodium bicarbonate.
The highest classification for regular fire extinguishers deals with electrical fires. These safety products contain non-conductive agents that not only put out the fire but also prevent any electrical current from reaching you. Electrical fires are one of the most common types when dealing with cars, so this coverage is crucial for an automotive extinguisher.
The fire safety industry has had tremendous advances over the past few decades, and one of the companies to attribute these innovations to is Amerex. The company was started in 1971 and has grown to be the world's largest producer of portable fire extinguishers. Today, its most popular products are compact fire extinguishers like the Amerex B500.
Buckeye Fire Equipment is an international leader in developing fire protection products. The company offers a very popular chrome fire extinguisher for cars with its Stainless Steel Hand Held Fire Extinguisher. Buckeye has more than four decades of experience and even earned the coveted ISO 9001-2008 Quality Certification. It started as a privately owned company in Charlotte, N.C.
First Alert was started in 1958 with the goal of creating commercial smoke alarms. Since then, the company has branched out by expanding its line of safety products. After its residential products gained traction, the product line "First Alert" was officially started in 1970. It offers portable and residential fire extinguishers like the Tundra Aerosol Spray and the First Alert Garage Fire Extinguisher.
Two of the best-rated fire extinguishers are the Kidde FA110 and the Kidde 21005779. From its humble beginnings in Belleville, N.J., Kidde has become a pioneer in fire safety. Walter Kidde founded the company in 1917. He originally produced the first integrated smoke detection and carbon dioxide extinguishing system for ships. He later expanded his company’s product lines to include home use and automotive options.
Fire Extinguisher Pricing
- Under $35: The smallest and least expensive form of fire extinguisher is aerosol cans. These typically come in packs of two or more and cost much less than full extinguishers.
- $35 to $75: The average auto fire extinguisher cost between $35 and $75. Different features inside this price range include sizes up to 5 pounds and class ratings of A, B, C, or a combination of the three.
- Over $75: A premium-priced fire extinguisher can come with several different features to set them apart from your average safety device. This can include automotive mounting brackets, color and finish options, and the ability to be refilled.
There are numerous types of fire ratings and extinguishers with a combination of different classifications. The best choice for your car is an extinguisher that has an A, B, and C rating. These cover all the basics, and they protect you from the most common types of fires that can start in a vehicle.
While large SUVs and small coupes may require different sized fire extinguishers, the average vehicle doesn't need an overly large safety device. You need a small fire extinguisher for cars so that it can be kept in an easy to reach area. Extinguishers between 2 and 5 pounds are the preferred size for vehicle safety.
Your average fire extinguisher is only made for one use, and they also expire over time. That means anytime you use your extinguisher (or anytime your unused one expires), you need to purchase a new one. A great option is buying a rechargeable (or refillable) fire extinguisher. While they tend to be more expensive upfront, they'll save you money in the long run.
- Construction: There are plenty of different materials that can be used to make the canister of a fire extinguisher. Various metals can affect the price, strength, and weight of your device. The valve assembly should also be considered. Dry chemical agents are discharged at very high pressure, so having a hose and valve that can handle it is important.
- Mounting Options: It's crucial that you can access your fire extinguisher in an emergency. Some devices are small enough to be kept in easy to reach places like a glove compartment or center console. For larger extinguishers, a mounting bracket made for your device can be incredibly helpful and give you plenty of options when it comes to placement.
- Discharge Time: The discharge time of a fire extinguisher deals with how far an extinguishing agent can be projected. This is important for your personal safety; you never want to be too close to a fire while using an extinguisher.
- Warranty: Between defects in construction and the shelf life of some extinguishing agents, it's always helpful to have a more extended warranty for your fire extinguishers. Some class-leading warranties can last up to five years, with some only lasting three months.
Best Fire Extinguisher Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Read the instructions and the owner’s manual of your vehicle's fire extinguisher when you first receive it. It's crucial to know how to use it before an emergency situation arises.
- Be aware of the best spots in your car for keeping a fire extinguisher. Personal preference and available space are important factors, and they can help you decide which option is the best for you.
- If certain passengers are frequently in your vehicle, make sure they are aware of the extinguisher's location as well.
- Consider keeping a fire extinguisher in areas where you often park or work on your car. Some options are great for keeping in your garage or shop.
- Make sure to contact emergency services in the event of a fire. While having your own extinguisher can put out an active fire, you don't want to risk assuming the situation is under control before it truly is.
- If you are driving your vehicle or working on your vehicle and you see smoke or smell something burning, immediately stop what you're doing. You do not want to add to the problem before knowing what the cause may be.
Q: What causes a car to catch on fire?
A: Cars are complex machines, so there are plenty of things that can cause a fire. Causes include electrical shorts, fuel leaks, overheating, accidents, and even manufacturing defects. It's vital to protect you and your vehicle from a wide spectrum of potential issues.
Q: Should I carry a fire extinguisher in my car?
A: While keeping a fire extinguisher in your car isn't a necessity, there are only upsides to having one. Having a vehicle-mounted fire extinguisher will keep you safe in an emergency and doesn't affect your day-to-day driving needs.
Q: Where should I keep a fire extinguisher in my vehicle?
A: You need to make sure that, in an emergency, you can get to your fire extinguisher quickly. Assuming you don't want to it out on the open at all times, good places are under the driver's seat, in front of the passenger's seat, or an accessible part of the center console.
Q: What should I do if my car catches on fire?
A: If you see any smoke or smell something burning, it is important to pull over and turn your car off. It is not worth the risk to continue to your destination, and turning the vehicle off will help reduce the risk of a fire starting. If there is a small flame or smoke, you can use your fire extinguisher to smother the fire. You should keep a safe distance and avoid opening the hood and contact emergency services.
When it comes to vehicle safety, the best choice in fire extinguishers needs to be compact and effective. The Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher is perfect to fit in your car and is capable of handling the types of fires most likely to occur.
Drivers who want a comprehensive option that is also affordable should opt for the First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray.