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Gasoline Fire Safety

Gasoline is an important part of our day-to-day lives. We use it to fuel our cars and trucks, as well as our lawnmowers, weed trimmers, boats, a variety of off-road vehicles, portable electric generators and more. However, gasoline is highly flammable and can be extremely dangerous if not handled or stored safely. Following these safety tips will help protect you and your family.

hand pumping gas

Fuelling Vehicles

  • Turn off the vehicle’s engine. If towing a trailer or recreational vehicle, turn off all possible ignition sources, such as a heater, stove, propane refrigerator or pilot lights.
  • Never smoke or operate any personal electronic devices during refuelling. This includes cell phones, laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and electronic games. Leave all electronic equipment in your vehicle.
  • Never leave the nozzle unattended. Never jam the refuelling latch on the pump nozzle in the open position with any object.
  • Do not get back into your vehicle while refuelling – static electricity could generate a spark especially during the dry winter months. If you cannot avoid re-entering your vehicle during fuelling, discharge any static electricity by touching a metal portion of the vehicle, away from the filling point, such as the car door, before touching the gas pump nozzle.
  • To avoid spills, do not overfill your tank. Remember to leave room in your tank for expansion, especially during the hot summer months.
  • Report any spills immediately to the gasoline station attendant.
  • In the event of a fire at the pumps, do not attempt to remove the nozzle from the vehicle. Evacuate the area immediately and inform the station attendant to call 911.

Portable Gasoline Containers

  • Use only a ULC (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved plastic or metal gasoline container. Never store gasoline, even small amounts, in glass jars or other unapproved containers.
  • When filling a container, follow the same rules as fuelling a vehicle; turn off engine, extinguish all ignition sources, leave electronic devices in the vehicle.
  • Place the container on the ground a safe distance from vehicles, customers and traffic. Never fill a container when it’s inside a vehicle, trailer, trunk or pickup truck bed. The container must come into contact with the ground in order to eliminate any chance of static electricity igniting fuel vapours.
  • Keep the pump nozzle in contact with the container at all times during fuelling to eliminate static electricity igniting fumes.
  • Fill a portable container slowly to prevent over-filling or a spill, as well as decreasing static electricity.
  • Fill the container no more that 90 – 95% full to allow room for expansion. Overfilling a container can lead to a dangerous spill or distort the container.
  • Wipe off any minor gasoline spills on the container before securing it in your vehicle. Ensure the container is tightly sealed, including the cap on the air vent. Never use containers that do not seal properly.
  • When transporting the container by vehicle, secure it in an upright position in a well-ventilated area. Never transport a container in a closed area or trunk. Do not smoke when transporting gasoline.
  • Remove the container from your vehicle as soon as you arrive at your destination. Never leave a gasoline container in a vehicle, especially in direct sunlight.
  • Store containers in a secure, well-ventilated location out of the reach of children. Never store gasoline in the living area of a house. The safest storage location is a detached garage or shed, away from any ignition sources (pilot lights, electric motors, heaters, stoves, etc.) and combustibles (paper, rags, cardboard, etc.).

Fuelling Boats and Equipment on Trailers

Boats, lawnmowers, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles and jet skis are examples of gasoline-powered equipment that may be transported on a trailer. As with filling a portable gasoline container, the vehicle must be grounded to eliminate the risk of a spark from static electricity during refuelling. To minimize this risk, follow the same rules that apply to fuelling a vehicle, together with these guidelines.

  • Portable containers used as fuel reservoirs for outboard marine engines should be removed from the boat and placed on the ground or on the wharf during refuelling.
  • Remove the equipment from the trailer to the ground for refuelling. If this is not practical, use a portable container to fuel the equipment rather than directly from the gas pump. When dispensing from a portable container, there is less chance of a spill and the slower flow rate reduces static electricity.
  • If refuelling the equipment on the trailer from the pump nozzle, ensure the nozzle comes into contact with the fuel tank fill tube on the equipment.

Other Gasoline Safety Guidelines

  • Always store gasoline in an approved container, in a cool, well-ventilated secure area away from any heat or ignition sources. Never store gasoline inside the home. Store it in a detached garage or shed. Only store the minimum amount of gas required. Do not store gasoline in a vehicle.
  • Always keep gasoline away from children.
  • Never siphon gasoline by mouth. Gasoline can be harmful or fatal if swallowed. If gasoline is swallowed, never induce vomiting – seek medical attention immediately.
  • Use gasoline as a motor fuel only. Never use gasoline as a cleaning agent, degreaser or to clean your hands.
  • Never refuel lawnmowers, weed trimmers, rototillers or any other piece of equipment while it is still hot.
  • Never use gasoline in place of kerosene or charcoal lighting fluid.
  • Never use water on a gasoline fire (Class B fire). The use of water will spread the fire.
  • Do not discard gasoline onto the ground, into a sewer, street drain or any waterway. Gasoline can be disposed of at the Household Chemical Waste Site at the Public Drop Off Depot at 3540 North Service Rd. E. at Central Ave.
  • Do not use gasoline as a weed killer or pesticide.