Flammable Liquid Vapors Source of Ignition

Flammable liquid fires cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries in our nation each year. Here in Minnesota we suffered 12 deaths, 141 civilian injuries and $40 million in property loss during the past five years from flammable liquid vapor fires. These facts alone make reducing these statistics a priority to the East Grand Forks Fire Department.

Here are a few tips to help you "Pump up safely":

  • Turn off your vehicle engine. Put your vehicle in park. Turn off any auxiliary sources of ignition such as a camper or trailer heater, cooking units, or pilot lights.
  • Do not smoke, light matches or lighters while refueling at the pump or when using gasoline anywhere else.
  • Before filling, always remove the containers from the vehicle and place them on the ground at a safe distance from the vehicle.
  • Touch the container with the gas dispenser nozzle before removing the container lid (provides another path to dissipate static charge to ground).
  • Keep the nozzle in contact with the container inlet when filling.
  • Never fill a container completely; rather, fill the container to 80% capacity. If the container is labeled as one gall, only put a maximum of one gallon of liquid into it, even if there is extra space left in the container. Leaving a vapor space in the can will allow the liquid to expand when the temperature changes. An explosion could result if the container is completely full.
  • Tightly secure the gas can cap and when transporting a flammable liquid in a vehicle, place the container in the bed of a pickup truck or the trunk of a car, never in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The potential release of vapors inside the passenger compartment can put the people inside the vehicle in danger.
  • Always store flammable liquid cans in a fireproof cabinet or storage locker when not in use. This will restrict the release of ignitable vapors.
  • Do not over-fill or top-off your vehicle tank, which can cause gasoline spillage.
  • Never allow children under licensed driving age to operate the pump.
  • Avoid prolonged breathing of gasoline vapor. Use gasoline only in open areas that get plenty of fresh air. Keep your face away from the nozzle or container opening.
  • Never siphon gasoline by mouth nor put gasoline in your mouth for any reason. Gasoline can be harmful or fatal if swallowed. If someone swallows gasoline, do not induce vomiting. Contact a doctor and/or emergency medical service providers immediately.
  • Keep gasoline away from your eyes and skin; it may cause irritation. Remove gasoline-soaked clothing immediately.
  • Use gasoline as a motor fuel only. Never use gasoline to wash your hands or as a cleaning solvent.

Following these simple tips may sound like common sense, but we become very complacent with everyday tasks such as filling our vehicles with gasoline. Safe dispensing and transporting of flammable liquids is the responsibility of the driver and everyone in the vehicle. The Fire Department would like for you to sit down together and these important tips and should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 773-2403.