Cumberland Times-News

November 24, 2012

Gas pump safety: Fire marshal offers tips

For the Cumberland Times-News
Associated Press

— CUMBERLAND — Al-though rare, fires occurring when dispensing gasoline into vehicles and approved containers can result in a sudden flash fire directly resulting from a static electricity spark. A spark caused by static electricity can quickly ignite gasoline vapors in or around the fuel fill site.

When dry (low humidity) conditions exist, the potential for static electricity rises. Static electricity develops while entering and exiting your vehicle. It is advised to touch a metal area away from the fill location on the vehicle to discharge any static built up from contact with the seat before touching the nozzle.

Although it is a best practice to avoid re-entering your vehicle after beginning the refueling process, if you find it necessary to enter the vehicle again, touch the exterior metal area of the vehicle before handling the nozzle.

“Serious injury or death can quickly change the outcome of a seemingly simple task when dispensing gasoline,” said State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard. “Please educate yourself and share the following safety tips with others when filling vehicles and containers”.

• Follow the safety instructions provided on decals located on the gas pump housing.

• Always turn-off vehicle engine when refueling.

• Stay near the nozzle during the refueling process.

• When filling approved containers, always place the container on the ground, never fill containers on a vehicle or trailer.

• Keep the nozzle in direct contact with the approved container while filling.

• If a fire occurs, do not remove the nozzle. Leave the area immediately and call for assistance.