While a lot of people like the freedom and independence that comes along with driving, it’s probably safe to say that no one likes having to stop for gas (have you seen the prices lately?!). Not only does it add to your total travel time, but it puts you and everyone around you at an increased risk of being a victim of a fire or explosion.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help prevent gas station fires. Here are our 4 fire safety tips for gas stations.
This should be a no-brainer. A gas station is filled with a ton of highly flammable material, so don’t use anything that has the potential to start a fire while you’re there. This includes lighters, matches, even a magnifying glass in the right light.
This doesn’t just apply to when you are outside of your vehicle, either. Even if you are parked there with the windows up, do not use any potential sources of ignition. And if you’re a smoker, make sure your cigarette is out before you pull into the gas station, and don’t light another one up until you have left.
Even if you’re not much of a driver yourself, you probably know that you’re supposed to turn the engine off before filling up at the pump. While a major fire or explosion is unlikely, it is entirely possible that a running engine could ignite a fire, especially if fuel manages to leak through the nozzle while you’re refuelling your vehicle.
After you turn the engine off, it’s also not a bad idea to take the keys out of the ignition, especially if you have kids. This helps ensure they don’t accidentally turn it on while they’re waiting for you to finish at the pump.
This may be an even more unlikely scenario, but it is technically possible to start a fire with a mobile phone. In fact, a spark only needs about 0.2 mJ of energy to ignite gas vapour, which is a very small portion of the energy stored in a phone battery. However, since cell phones aren’t designed to make sparks, the odds of this actually happening are extremely slim.
Cell phones can be fire hazards in other ways, though. If you’re scrolling through your phone while refuelling, for example, you may end up overfilling your tank without realizing it, causing gas to spill everywhere. Mobile phones can be the ultimate distraction, so it’s best to put them away while you’re at the pump.
Again, this is a rarity, but static electricity can cause sparks. If you’ve built up a big static charge sliding in and out of your vehicle and the conditions are right, you can discharge a spark that could ignite a fire.
Therefore, you should try and discharge any built-up static before even touching the pump. It’s easy enough to do – simply touch a metal part of your vehicle. Problem solved!