If you find yourself in a fire entrapment situation where a shelter deployment is not possible, using a vehicle for refuge may be an option. The following are some considerations for a vehicle entrapment:
- Park the vehicle in an area void of vegetation.
- Burn out around the vehicle if there is time.
- Park behind a natural barrier or structure. Consider that a structure could become involved which could severely impact nearby exposures/vehicles.
- Do not park on the downhill side of a road or under power lines or over-hanging vegetation.
- Stay out of saddles and draws.
- Position the vehicle in a direction that provides the area occupied by crew personnel the maximum protection from an approaching flame front.
- Set the parking brake, leave the motor running at high RPM, and keep the vehicle lights on.
- Roll up the windows and do not lock the doors since someone else might need to get in.
- Cover windows with fire shelters – reflective material placed against the window.
- You must protect your airway; remain as low in the vehicle as possible, and use a dry bandana to cover your nose and mouth.
- Expect the following conditions if you are trapped inside the vehicle:
- Temperatures may reach over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Smoke and sparks may enter the vehicle.
- Plastic parts may start to melt and give off toxic gases.
- Windows may start to crack.
- Exposed skin may receive radiant heat burns.
- If the vehicle catches fire, or windows blow out, and you must exit the vehicle before the fire has passed, then:
- Each crewmember should cover themselves with a fire shelter.
- Exit the vehicle from the side away from the greatest heat.
- Stay together and get as low to the ground as possible, moving away from the vehicle.
- Deploy your shelter in a safe area.
Canyon Fire Entrapment
Video Length 18:40
Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
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