Monday, March 12, 2012

Service Station Safety Tips

How many times have you seen this scenerio:  You pull into a gas station to fuel up.  As your pumping gas, you notice a woman with four small children in a mini-van pull into the island next to you.  The woman exits her vehicle while talking on the cell phone.  You watch as she completes her transaction, removes the pump dispenser, and begins to fill her tank all-the-while continuing to talk on her mobile device.  Continuing with her conversation, she activates the pump refueling hatch and then steps back inside her vehicle.  After a minute or so she exits the van again still talking on her cell phone, directly walks up to the pump handle, disengages the lock, and places the pump back in the cradle. 

What you should do:
  • Always turn off your vehicle's engine when refueling.
  • Keep gasoline and other fuels out of children's sight and reach.  Gasoline is highly toxic in addition to being a fire hazard.  NEVER allow a child to pump gas.
  • Don't smoke, light matches or use lighters while refueling.
  • Pay attention to what you're doing.  Pumping gas is the transfer of a hazardous substance; don't engage in other activities.
  • If you must use any electronic device, such as a cell phone, computer, or portable radio while refueling, follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Use the refueling latch on the gasoline dispenser nozzle, if there is one.  Do not jam the latch with an object to hold it open.
  • To avoid spills, do not top off or overfill your vehicle.
  • After pumping gasoline, leave the nozzle in the tank opening for a few seconds to avoid drips when you remove it.
  • If a fire starts while you're refueling, don't remove the nozzle from the vehicle or try to stop the flow of gasoline.  Leave the area immediately and call for help.
  • Don't get in and out of your vehicle while refueling.  A static electric charge can develop on your body as you slide across the seat, and when you reach for the pump, a spark can ignite the gasoline vapor.
  • If you must get into the vehicle during refueling, discharge any static electricity by touching metal on the outside of the vehicle, away from the filling point, before removing the nozzle from your vehicle.
  • Use only approved portable containers for transporting or storing gasoline.  Make sure the container is in a stable position.
  • Never fill a portable container when it is in or on the vehicle.  Always place the container on the ground first.  Fires caused by static charges have occurred when people filled portable containers in the back of pick-up trucks, particularly those with plastic bed liners.  Removing the container will also prevent a dangerous spill of gasoline.
  • When filling a portable container, keep the nozzle in direct contact with the container.  Fill it only about 95% full to leave room for vapor expansion.
Talk to your family members, especially teen drivers, about these safety tips while refueling their vehicles so that you never see this:

Thanks goes to the National Fire Protection Association, the authority on fire, electrical, and building safety, for these safety precautions.

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