7News Special Report: Save Yourself


We think to ourselves “it will never happen to me” but the truth is, it happens every day.

Car fires, accidents, flash flooding, would you know what to do if you were caught in one of these situations?

In a special report, 7News Anchor Rachael Dierkes sat down with Assistant Wheeling Fire Chief Jim Blazier to get some tips that could save your life when it comes to these three situations that could happen to you.

Car fires: 

Blazier says the best thing you can do to prevent your car engine from catching on fire is regular maintenance.

“For a lot of people it’s an inconvenience if you drive your car and it catches on fire, that car is unrepairable,” said Blazier.

Some things to look out for in your car would be maybe a strange odor or your car just not running properly. You need to head any warning signs.

If you’re at home, don’t pull into a garage. If your car catches on fire that could turn into a house fire.

If you’re out on the roadway, Blazier says to pull off the roadway safely and park somewhere away from buildings.

If you’re ever in doubt, call the Wheeling Fire Department. Blazier says sometimes all that’s left after a car fire is whatever wouldn’t burn.


Blazier says Wheeling Fire Department responds to accidents on a daily basis.

It may seem like common sense, but if you are ever in an accident the first thing you need to do is put your car in park, and turn it off.

“That’s one of the first things we do when we get on scene of an accident, make sure all these vehicles are stable enough when we’re working around them that we aren’t gong to get injured themselves or the patients get injured by the car shifting,” said Blazier.


Considering the geography of our region, it’s also important to know what to do if you ended up in your car, in the water. 

It only takes 8 – 10 inches of water to make your car float.

“If you submerge your car above the tires, there’s a good chance your car is going to stop running. Then you’re at the mercy of where the water takes you at that point,” said Blazier.

Blazier stresses to never driver through standing water. If you cannot see the road, turn around. There could be anything from debris to a sinkhole under that water, which could damage your car or put you in danger.

If you would happen to end up in a body of water, the first thing you need to do is get your windows down. 

Blazier said there’s a misconception you need to keep your windows up to create a pocket of air but that is opposite of what you want to do. 

“Once your car is in the water you have about 30 second to get out,” said Blazier.

You need to try to crawl outside of your windows and get on top of your car.

If you cannot get your windows down, you’ll need something to break them open. Your first will not do. You need something with a fine point, LIKE THIS TOOL. Which can also cut your seat belt if you were stuck in it.

“We deal with prevention all the time, fire prevention, we talk about  getting your car checked out so it won’t catch on fire, 
if you think you damaged something, check it out before it becomes an issue. And the same with water, don’t drive in standing water, that’s a big message we want to send out,” said Blazier.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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