What to Do If You Get Caught in a Tunnel Fire

Published 30/08/2018
que hacer en un incendio de un túnel en la m30 de Madrid

A tunnel fire can be caused as a result of a car crash. But it can also be the result of an overheated engine in a car traveling through it.

In any case, this represents a very difficult and dangerous situation as a tunnel is a closed space. In addition, the mouths of the tunnel may actually act as accelerators of the fire, further complicating things for those who are trapped inside. Do you know what to do in this situation? Here we’ll give you the necessary guidelines that you should follow in this complicated situation.

Emergency situation: How to act during a fire in a tunnel

If you find yourself trapped in a tunnel by a fire, it is essential for you to stay calm. But you will also have to follow some basic rules in order to get out of the situation safe and sound. The main rules are as follows:

If your vehicle is on fire

If your own vehicle is the source of the fire and you think you have enough time, try to get it out of the tunnel. If this option is not viable and there is a hard shoulder nearby, then you should leave your car there; if not, pull your car over to one side of the tunnel.
Turn off the engine and get out of the car, leaving the key in the ignition. Put on the reflective vest and access the nearest emergency exit.
Request help by using the SOS posts in the tunnel or your mobile phone (dial 112). To report your position, there are localisation codes on the walls of the tunnel.
If the existing fire is small and you can realistically try to weaken it, you will find water hoses and fire extinguishers every 50 metres.


If the fire is coming from another vehicle

If, on the other hand, there is another vehicle on fire, you should continue driving. In the event the fire prevents you from moving, stop the engine and signal your position with your hazard lights to warn the other drivers.
Get out of the car, leaving the keys in the ignition so that, if needed, the emergency services can easily remove the car and thus get to the source of the fire more quickly.
Then, leave the tunnel following the instructions provided by the tunnel staff or, in their absence, the instructions received through the variable signage panels. There is evacuation signage throughout the tunnel that will facilitate your exit.
If the fire has spread and there is smoke, cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief (moistened if possible). This will serve as a filter to avoid inhaling the polluting gases that are produced during combustion. The fire is not the only dangerous part: the toxic gases that the fire generates are as dangerous (or even more so).

In conclusion, a fire in a tunnel is a very dangerous situation. The fire may spread or there may even be an explosion. In addition, a tunnel is a closed space where air can quickly become contaminated. Therefore, you must follow the steps we have indicated and get out of the area as quickly as possible.

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