When I saw the headlines in the Star newspaper of the 28 December 2009 edition, I shake my head in dismay and say to myself, this tragic accident should not have happened.
According to the newspaper report, a church worker and his sons were burnt to death. Their van crashed into another vehicle and burst into flames late last Saturday.
A fire extinguisher, which costs only RM80 – RM100, could have saved the church worker and his 3 sons when this accident occurred. But unfortunately, it is quite obvious the vehicle which the church worker was driving, did not possess a fire extinguisher.
But all is not lost. In Malaysia, public service vehicles such as buses, lorries, goods carrying vehicles and taxis, it is mandatory for them to have fire extinguishers. Failing which the above vehicles have no way of getting through Puspakom’s 6 monthly, stringent examination.
What then should the authorities, especially the J.P.J. do now?
In order to prevent such incidents from happening, the time has come to implement a ruling whereby “all” vehicles, irregardless old or new should have fire extinguisher.
Make it a ruling! Make it mandatory that all vehicles should have it prior to its road tax be issued.
The Police should on the other hand conduct spot checks on all vehicle to see to it that fire extinguishers are found in all vehicles and check are made at all times. Heavy fines should be levied on drivers who flout the law.
Other procedures which could also be taken by the authorities are:
1) Set up a large company to produce fire extinguishers especially for cars.
2) Ensure the price of fire extinguishers be lowered. The price should be one that is affordable to all motorists.
3) A campaign whereby petrol stations are encouraged to give away free portable fire extinguishers in lieu of points which are currently being given to motorists.
4) It would also be suggested that vehicles which have no fire extinguishers can either be refused road tax issuance or have its road tax raised five to ten fold its present price.
Other methods and procedures can continue to be given. But it will all be to no avail, if nothing is done. The fault lies not with the motorists themselves but the authorities who seem unable to implement such regulations.
There are times when we have to be tactful and brash in our actions in order to get things done. There is but no other way.
In my articles elsewhere, the subject of “fire” starting out in a car has been mentioned and explained. As you are reading this article this very moment, I might as well reiterate it once again for your perusal.
A fire can well break out from the engine itself. Inflammable items, which is fuel is in this compartment. It can ignite very easily. A fire can also very well start from the driver’s compartment too.
As earlier explained, air-con switches, radio switches and other lighting points are likely sources for short circuits to happen.
Make sure, as a good driver that you periodically inspect all these points to ensure there areas are safe. Change these points frequently to prevent short circuits happening.
And finally, as I explained earlier, the booth is one place where a fire is very likely to start. Refrain from storing spare petrol in canisters in the booth area.
You can prevent such incidents from happening by making sure your petrol tank if full at all times, this make it unnecessary to keep spare petrol in the booth.
And who does a vehicle which is knocked into from behind break out in flames?
Because the fuel tank, do not forget is situated underneath the booth. Friction fro metal parts of both vehicles involved in the collision will ignite petrol leaking from the tank easily.
To be on the safe side, it’s advisable to have fire extinguishers. We feel safe driving with it in our vehicle.
You don’t believe it?
Try getting a fire extinguisher and place them in your car. You will then realize what I mean! You actually feel confident with it.