CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - From filling up your car to the lawnmower, you're always using gas, but it can be pretty dangerous. Greg Dibrindisi works with the Hatfield Fire Dept. and he came onto Mass Appeal to talk gasoline safety.
What are the safety steps when fueling a car at a gas station?
At service stations, there are safety rules because gasoline vapors can ignite so easily. People are tempted to leave their cars running, especially during hot and cold weather extremes. It is absolutely forbidden to do so and the attendants are required to shut off the pumps if you do. If folks return to their cars, the act of sliding out across the seats can build up a static charge. If the first metal thing you then touch is the gas cap or something metal around the fueling, the vapors can be ignited causing a fire. That's also why there's no smoking allowed when refueling a car.
Are there safety tips for filling gas cans?
When fueling a gas can, it's important to place it on the ground so no static build up which can ignite the vapors. Be sure to only fill it 90% full to allow room for expansion.
Can you use any old container?
Use an approved gas container to transport gasoline. It should have a stamp from a national testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory or UL Gasoline cans are always red. Kerosene cans are blue. Keep them upright and don't put them inside the passenger compartment of a vehicle.
How much gasoline can you store at home?
Gasoline cannot be stored inside the home - it should be in a detached garage or shed. A locked shed is a good idea. You can only store 7 gallons before you need to get a permit from the local fire department. If your garage is attached, you can only have a quart in there.
When refueling a lawnmower, or an ATV, let the engine cool down first. The heat can ignite the gasoline vapors. Be sure to refuel outdoors, not inside the garage.
I never use gasoline to start fires. It amazes me that anyone would. My kids copy everything I do. Unfortunately, there are many burn injuries every year in our state when people add gasoline to their camp fires, wood stoves or open burning fires. So often the victims are young children.
It's important to teach our teenagers about safe use of gasoline as well. As they start to mow the lawn (we hope), use snow mobiles, ATVs, and to drive, we want them show respect for gasoline. The best way to teach them that is to show them by example.
For more information on gasoline safety tips, go to www.stopgasfires.org