Trapped in a vehicle

If you do become trapped by fire while in a vehicle, stay in the vehicle. Park it in an area providing greatest protection, such as:

  • against an embankment
  • in a cutting
  • in an old gravel pit or roadside clearing
  • in an area of the road which has the least amount of forest or scrub alongside it
  • in an area where falling trees cannot strike your vehicle.

Do not park in the middle of a road unless there is no alternative—your vehicle could be struck by others in poor visibility.

Stay in the vehicle with the engine running, and:

  • close all windows and vents
  • turn your headlights on low beam and switch on hazard lights
  • lie down on the floor of the vehicle
  • cover yourself with anything that will protect you from radiant heat – a woollen blanket is ideal, but any protective covering will greatly increase your chances of survival
  • drink water frequently.

You should stay in the vehicle until the fire front has passed. You will probably encounter two or three frightening minutes of extreme heat if the fire front burns over the vehicle. Statistics show that petrol and diesel fuel tanks virtually never explode in real life – despite what happens in the movies! Stay in the vehicle until the fire front has passed – you are much safer inside the vehicle than outside.

As soon as the main fire front has passed, leave the vehicle and move onto burnt ground, aiming for the most open position available, away from danger of falling branches or trees.

It is wise to keep woollen blankets and a supply of water in your car, just in case you are caught in a bushfire and have to use your car as a refuge.