While gasoline is a highly flammable fluid, you may not think about this fact while you’re completing an everyday task like filling up your car. There are several fire safety hazards that present themselves while going through the ordinary task of filling up your tank, many of which can be easily prevented. And while static electricity-related incidents are rare, the potential for this type of accident is higher in both abnormally cool and dry climate conditions. So, what steps as a customer can you take to prevent these possible fire hazards when filling up your car? We take a look at what to avoid next time you’re at your local service station.
While static related fires are uncommon, they become more likely when you reenter your car while in the process of refuelling. When you’re rushing to get to work or rushing to get home in the evening, giving your full attention to fuelling your car may prove to be difficult at times. However, it’s important that you do not reenter your vehicle to avoid that build-up of static that may result in a serious accident.
American Petroleum Institute explains more on why getting back in your car while refuelling could be a dangerous move:
“…motorists should not get back into their vehicles during refueling. It may be a temptation to get back in the car for any number of reasons. But the average fill-up takes only two minutes, and staying outside the vehicle will greatly minimize the likelihood of any build-up of static electricity that could be discharged at the nozzle.”
We’ve all heard the stories regarding the dangers of cell phones and gas stations and wondered whether there is really any truth to them. However, whether or not you’ve personally known anyone who has been involved in this type of accident, there is indeed evidence that cell phone usage near gas pumps poses potential explosion risks.
LoveToKnow.com tells us more about the associated danger between filling your gas tank and cell phones:
“Neither cell phones or full-function pagers are designed to be used in any type of ignitable environment. Certainly any area where fuel is being pumped is one where risk of ignition is high. There are situations in which cell phone usage can create sparks capable of igniting a fire or causing an explosion in such an environment.”
Have you ever set your portable gas can down on the floor of your car or on the bed of a pickup in order to refill it? While this may seem like a harmless act, this is another leading cause of static fires that may occur at a service station.
The Salina Journal explains how filling a portable gas can inside a vehicle can cause a potential fire:
“When filling a portable gasoline can, always place the container on the ground and keep the pump nozzle in contact with the container while refueling. Containers never should be filled inside a vehicle, in the trunk, on the bed of a pickup or on the floor of a trailer. The carpeting and truck bed act as insulators, allowing static electricity to build up in the can while it is being filled. That static electricity could create a spark between the container and the fuel nozzle.”
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