September Extra - Gasoline Safety and Precautions
Your Extension Experts
August 9, 2007
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After Hurricane Katrina many residents are considering buying gasoline in the upper sectors of the state, then transporting it to the Coast for friends and relatives unable to purchase it in the southern part of the state.
While there may be no law against transporting gasoline over extended distances, there are some precautions that should be taken to prevent some very probable opportunities for a critical accident.
Dispense gasoline into nothing but a laboratory approved, grounded metal or durable plastic container.
It must be RED only in color.
The container should have a warning label regarding the dangers of gasoline.
Do not use a glass container.
Do not use a metal-used container that has had other petroleum products for obvious reasons.
FILLING A CONTAINER
Keep the nozzle in direct contact with the container.
Fill only to 95% capacity, to allow for heat expansion.
Fill on a flat surface and not in a vehicle. Static electricity can buildup filling in the bed of a truck, especially those with bed liners. This also removes the chance of a spill in the vehicle.
Do not lock the nozzle, hand control it and fill slowly. The slower a container is filled, the less static electricity that builds up.
Extinguish all smoking materials.
Turn off the vehicle engine.
When filling is completed, leave the nozzle in the tank for a few seconds to eliminate drips.
TRANSPORTING PORTABLE CONTAINERS WITH GASOLINE
Before loading filled, portable gasoline containers into a vehicle recheck the cap for tightness and check to be sure that the air vent cap is tight as well.
Wipe the containers on the outside thoroughly, to remove any residue of gasoline from them.
Secure the containers to avoid tipping during transporting.
When storing the containers in the vehicle for transporting, arrange for a cover or at least load them so that they will remain away from direct sunlight or as much heat as possible.
In transporting, extinguishing smoking materials is just as important for the obvious reasons.
When the destination for the use of the fuel is reached, and assuming it isn't all put to use immediately, the Uniform fire Code states some parameters for storage:
UFC approves only one or two gallon approved containers for indoor storage of Class I flammable liquids.
Approves only quantities stored indoors (like garages or other approved locations) for use of maintenance purposes and operating equipment and this is 10 gallons.
A storage cabinet designed for flammable liquids has a limit of 30 gallons.
Chevron's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provides an overview of the hazards of gasoline use:
Harmful or fatal if swallowed-can enter lungs and cause damage.
Vapor is harmful.
May cause eye or skin irritation.
Long term exposure to vapor has caused cancer in laboratory animals.
Keep out of reach of children.
If it is a complete necessity to transport gasoline in this situation, please take heed to the tips that we mentioned in this article. Again, gasoline is highly flammable and extremely dangerous. Take all the necessary precautions, drive safely and try to hold out through the weekend and let the crunch "ease off." It may be possible to avoid this gamble of transporting gasoline over this extended distance.
(A letter-sized poster with these safety tips may be downloaded. It is suitable for display at service stations.)
WORK SAFE !! IT WILL KEEP YOU ALIVE !!BE ALERT! ARRIVE ALIVE! BE SAFE, NOT SORRY!
Excerpts: NFPA, American Petroleum Institute 9/1/2005
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephon