There’s a Killer Lurking in Your Home
Gasoline Fire Prevention
Gasoline…potentially one of the most deadly substances that you will come into contact with nearly every day. Putting it in your car, boat, or lawn mower, and storing gasoline in a portable can in your shed or home are all potentially deadly situations that can certainly be made safer by following some simple precautions. Above all, we must not forget that the use of this everyday liquid can have disastrous consequences for your life, health and family.
Gasoline is highly flammable. This isn’t really news. The more dangerous element of gasoline can often be the fumes. Gas cans that are half full or nearly empty of actual liquid, are FULL of fumes, and these are just as flammable as the liquid itself.
Unwitting homeowners are often taken off guard by the sudden combustion of the fumes pouring out of their half empty gas tanks when they pour gasoline out of the can in the proximity of an ignition source, whether it be a brush fire in the yard or a pilot light under a hot water heater. Even static electricity has been known to ignite the fumes, engulfing people and property in flames as the fire travels back up the fume stream and into the gas tank you’re still holding.
These fumes, being heavier than the air around them flow just like a liquid, out of the can, down to the ground and pools or spreads until it either finds an ignition source or dissipates into the air. Filling your lawnmower tank in your driveway or in the yard far away from any ignition source rather than in your garage is always a smart idea.
In an effort to minimize the risk of gasoline accidents, we have put together a list of safety precautions that every car driver, homeowner, business owner, and parent should read.
Let’s start with the gas cans themselves.
- It is always best to buy a metal gas can with a flame arrestor in the spout, rather than a cheap plastic can without that safety device. A flame arrestor is a small metal screen inside the base of the gas can spout which prevents a flame from entering the gas can.
- Also look for a can that has a spring loaded cap that closes automatically when not in use.
In and around the home:
- Store gasoline outside of the home, preferably in a storage shed of some kind which is not connected to the home.
- Store it in a well ventilated area.
- Store it in a proper gasoline can as mentioned above, not in a glass jar or milk jug.
- Stay well away from possible ignition sources (electrical devices, oil or gas-fired appliances, or any device that has a pilot flame or spark), keeping in mind that it’s not only the liquid that you need to be aware of.
- Never use gasoline inside the home, or as a cleaning agent.
- Always make sure you have a working fire extinguisher in your home and storage shed or garage.
In the yard and outdoors:
- Let machinery cool before refueling.
- Clean up spills promptly and discard cleanup materials properly.
- Never use gasoline in place of kerosene.
- Don’t smoke when handling gasoline.
- Keep a gas fire extinguisher nearby.
Around your vehicle:
- Keeping in mind that static electricity can ignite gasoline fumes, do not open and close the doors to your vehicle and do not use your cell phone while refueling
- When filling a gas can, place it on the ground, not in the bed of your truck, trunk of your car or inside the car,
- Keep a gas fire extinguisher in your vehicle safety kit.
- Never let children handle gasoline,
- Keep your portable gasoline tank in a secure place out of sight and out of reach of children,
- Talk to your kids about gasoline and how dangerous it can be,
- Show them how to use a fire extinguisher.
If a gas fire starts:
- If you are alone, get away from the source of the fire/gasoline as quickly as possible, do not attempt to extinguish it,
- If someone else is being burned, and you need to try to put out the flames, smother them with a FLAME RESISTANT blanket…but this is ONLY if the fire is relatively small and can be entirely smothered with the blanket. Use a gas fire extinguisher, usually rated B, though some home fire extinguishers are rated A-B-C and can handle most types of fires.
- DO NOT USE WATER!! If liquid gas is present the water will simply sink to the bottom, heating and becoming steam almost instantly, causing even more damage.
- The best advice is to get away and call the fire department immediately. Firefighters are the only ones trained to handle a gas fire.
Above all, keep in mind that gasoline is extremely dangerous and can ignite suddenly and violently if proper precautions are not taken. If you can smell the fumes from gasoline, you may be standing in the middle of an explosion, waiting to happen. Take steps immediately to fix the situation and keep in mind the above listed precautions whenever you are handling gasoline or are near any of its fumes.
If you, or someone you know has been the victim of a gas burn due to a defective product or someone else’s negligence, contact the law offices of Walker Morgan today on our toll free number (800) 922-8411 or use the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including burn injuries from gas explosions. We will go over the facts of your case, outlining any potential claims you may have, and guide you through the complicated legal process.
Every case is unique. Any result Walker Morgan may achieve on behalf of a client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.