A fire in your off-road truck can be a scary and potentially deadly hazard. Vehicle fires are not common; however, they are more common in vehicles that are modified in any way such as race cars, performance vehicles, and yes, off-road trucks.
Fortunately, you can prepare for this possibility with an onboard fire suppression system. Stay safe on the trails by adding the right fire extinguisher to your list of vehicle modifications along with your tires, steel bumpers, and performance engine parts.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
The first thing you need to consider when choosing a fire suppression system for your off-road truck is that vehicle fires start for different reasons. Some may be caused by electrical or mechanical issues, while others may involve certain fluids in your truck. In either case, you need extinguishers that will put out a variety of fires, regardless of what is fueling them.
Portable fire extinguishers can contain a variety of chemicals including FE-36, a compressed gas; and AAAA, an aqueous foam. Halon gas, which was used in fire extinguisher canisters is no longer available. Extinguishers are rated according to what types of fires they can safely extinguish. Those ratings are as follows:
- A-Rated - Put out general fires fueled by non-chemical materials like paper, cardboard, cloth, wood, etc.
- B-Rated - Put out fires fueled by chemicals like gasoline, alcohol, and oils.
- C-Rated - Put out electrical fires.
Conveniently, most portable extinguishers are ABC rated, meaning they are designed for safe use on any type of fire. When searching for an extinguisher for your truck, make sure you choose one that is ABC rated to cover all the bases.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers are available in a variety of sizes, including canisters that can be conveniently mounted in various places around your heavy-duty vehicle. To provide yourself with at least some protection against a fire, a few portable extinguishers mounted in areas where you can easily access them is recommended.
Mount one to the floor behind your seat and another one on a roll cage tube or anyplace easily accessible wherever you have space available.
Fire Suppression Kits
Fire suppression kits have multiple parts including a larger extinguisher canister, two or three nozzles, a flexible hard extinguisher hose, as well as a t-pull and are set up differently. These kits contain entire systems to be mounted within the vehicle to cover multiple areas at the same time once activated.
The system is installed inside the vehicle to prevent a fire from spreading for a long enough period to get out safely. They are commonly available with 5 or 10 lb. extinguisher canisters. The canister is usually mounted somewhere in the rear of the vehicle, while the hoses are mounted throughout the vehicle with the nozzles positioned at key areas where fires could start.
A typical kit setup might include a nozzle positioned under the hood and close to the bumper; one positioned to spray the fuel tank or cell; and the last one positioned inside the vehicle and pointed at the driver.
Although fire suppression kits are generally used in dedicated race or off-road trucks that are more susceptible to catching fire, portable extinguishers are a convenient option if your truck does double duty. Neither system should be particularly expensive, making them an easy safety item to include in your vehicle upgrades.
Should you ever experience a fire, an onboard fire extinguisher or fire suppression system gives you critical seconds to get yourself out of your off-road truck safely!