31202Fend Off Fires: A Lorry Driver’s Guide to Safety Equipment

Let’s start 2018 the right way: safely. As I’m sure you know, trucks are fire hazards and, when you’re working haulage jobs, it’s crucial for lorry drivers like yourselves to prepare for fire safety in your vehicles. You don’t want to lose your truck or its cargo to the flames!

The Legal Requirements

First things first, here’s a quick reminder of the legal requirements concerning fire safety: when carrying out haulage jobs, you must always carry a 2kg extinguisher in your truck. You should also know that the heavier your vehicle, the bigger the extinguisher required. If your lorry is 3.5 tonnes or under, the extinguisher needs a minimum capacity of 4kg of dry powder. If it’s between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, you’ll need 8kg of dry powder, while if it’s above 7.5 tonnes, you’ll need at least 12kg.

If you’re concerned by the rules listed above and aren’t too sure about what equipment you should keep in your vehicle during haulage jobs, let me give you the rundown.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher

As I’ve just explained, you always need to carry a 2kg extinguisher and then the necessary powder for your vehicle’s weight. Extinguishers come in 2, 6 or 9kg. I’d recommend the ABC Powder fire extinguisher. It’s ideal for protecting vehicles, as it’s extremely effective against petrol and other volatile liquids.

Fire Extinguisher Cabinet

You’ll need this cabinet to store your extinguishers. Its PVC ties will hold the extinguisher in place during long-haul haulage jobs, while its ergonomic double lock will prevent the cabinet from opening accidentally. It will also withstand the effects of extremely low and high temperatures, as well as water and dust. You can easily install it in your lorry and its high-visibility casing will help you find it, even amongst the panic caused by the flames.

Fire Blanket

Kept in a hard, plastic container, this 1mx1m blanket can be used to choke small flames and prevent them from spreading.

Fire Safety Log Book

This little book will help you keep your records up-to-date. You can easily track all of your fire equipment maintenance and servicing. You can also note when you last had a fire drill or attended staff training.

Emergency Gas Horn

Ideal for drivers completing haulage jobs, this is a portable horn that is operated using gas. It sounds at 110dB and can be heard 1.5km away. If you are dealing with a fire, you can warn other drivers of the danger by sounding the alarm.

Fire Marshall Kit

To ensure your own safety during haulage jobs, the best thing to do is have a Fire Marshal Kit. All your emergency equipment will be in one practical bag, such as your warden vest and reflective armbands to make yourself visible if you need to leave your burning vehicle. A plastic whistle, air horn and mini megaphone to sound danger, as well as a torch and light sticks, are also included.

By the way, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) sells all of these items on their website. If your new year’s resolution is to put safety first, kitting up your lorry with any and all of the above fire equipment is an ideal first step.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage jobs with available drivers. Over 4,800 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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