It is common knowledge that gasoline vapors are extremely flammable, but many people never think about the best way to keep themselves safe while at the gas pump. While gas pump fires are not common, these accidents do occur and can result in expensive property damage and even loss of life. There are no guarantees that a fire will never happen, but as we move into the winter months when conditions are ideal for static buildup to occur, following the helpful tips below will help decrease the odds of a pump fire dramatically.
When considering gas pump fires, it is important to remember that 50% of these accidents occur when people return to their vehicles during the refueling process. This is most often due to the buildup of static electricity. When we first pull up to the gas pump, the hazard is minimized because we typically discharge any static buildup several times before even touching the nozzle to begin the refueling process. However, if you do have to re-enter your vehicle during the refueling process, make sure to discharge any possible buildup of static electricity when you exit the vehicle. Touching the metal part of your vehicle door or the pump can help discharge this static buildup. Just make sure the first thing you touch is not the fueling nozzle.
If a fire should occur at the fill pipe, it is extremely important to never remove the nozzle. Back away immediately and notify the attendant to turn the dispensers off. When the nozzle remains in the fill pipe, and the dispensers are turned off, the fire should go out on its own causing minimal damage.
Helpful Gas Pump Tips
- Always shut off your vehicle
- Don't re-enter the vehicle after the refueling process has begun
- Never leave the nozzle unattended
- Do not smoke, light matches or use a lighter while refueling
- To avoid spills, do not overfill or top off your gas tank
- Use only the hold open latch provided on the nozzle
- Avoid breathing gas vapors
- Never let children refuel the vehicle
- When filling a portable container, always place it on the ground
For more about the Do's And Don'ts At the Gas Pump, OPW has produced a video on this topic that can be viewed by going to the OPW YouTube page and searching for "Do's And Don'ts."
To learn more about OPW, contact your local OPW Sales Representative or OPW Distributor.