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Safety around Abandoned Vehicles

Abandoned vehicles are a national problem. They represent significant economic, social and environmental costs. It is estimated that last year 350,000 vehicles were illegally dumped in the UK costing the Government hundreds of millions of pounds.
Abandoned vehicles are not merley costly eyesores that need removing; they can also be a serious health hazard — particularly to children who are tempted to use them as play equipment. In most cases abandoned vehicles represent a danger to the public due to broken glass, fire damage, sharp edges, or even because they are filled with refuse (as some people use them as skips!).

Burnt out vehicles
65% of all car fires are started deliberately to cover a crime or to make a fraudulent insurance claim or just as an act of vandalism. However, it is the end result of the fire which is of great significance; as this poses the most serious threat to peoples health and safety.

NEVER approach a burning or burnt out vehicle, even after they are brunt out. A burning vehicle fire will consume 500kgs of plastic material, and toxic chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide and hydrofluoric acid will be released.
Flourolastomec, or venton, is a material used to make break seals, fuel pipes, gaskets, 'O' rings and other seals for motor vehicles. When used under their design conditions flourolastomers are perfectly safe. If however, the are exposed to temperatures exceeding 400 degrees the metal does not burn but decomposes. Burnt fluorolastomec melts into a highly corrosive acid (hydrofluoric acid). Melted flourastomec remains dangerous for at least 2 years. Only professional de-contamination will remove it safely. If Hydrofluoric acid comes into contact with skin, it cannot be washed off using soap and water. It is corrosive to the point that it will eat through bare skin, the underlying tissue and through to the bone. In worse cases it can lead to amputation.

In the event of your child coming in contact with any burnt out vehicle they should be taken immediately to your local A&E department for emergency treatment.

Abandoned vehicle removal and disposal is ultimately the responsibility of the local authorities However, individuals can help, by reporting abandoned vehicles, which will mean more of these dangerous eyesores can be removed and destroyed.

 How to spot an abandoned vehicle

  • Does it look vandalised and/or fire damaged?
  • Does it look unused and in poor  condition?
  • Is there a valid tax disc?
  • Does it look like it’s been in a road traffic accident?
  • Has it been parked or abandoned in an isolated or unused area?
  • Have parts been removed or damaged?
  • Are the wheels or petrol cap missing?
  • Is it in a known area for abandoned vehicles?
  • Have you seen anybody use it or act suspiciously around it?
  • Has it been there for over a week?


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