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Service station safety

Between 1980 and 2008, structure fires, and outdoor/other fires at service stations dropped by 70%, each(structure fires from 1,910 to 580, and outside/other fires from 4,010 to 1,200). 

gas station safetyVehicle fires at these properties increased steadily until the late 1990s, and declined through the 2000s. Even with the recent decline, vehicle fires were still 29% higher in 2008 than they were in 1980 (2,510 in 2008 vs. 1,940 in 1980). 

Facts & figures
  • An estimated 5,020 fires and explosions occurred at public service stations per year from 2004-2008. That means that, on average, one in every 13 service stations experienced a fire. These 7,400 fires caused an annual average of two civilian deaths, 48 civilian injuries and $20 million in property damage.
  • Of those 5,020 fires, almost two-thirds (61%) involved vehicles. Structure fires accounted for 12% of total incidents but 59% of the direct property damage.
  • Twelve percent of fire incidents at service stations were outside trash or rubbish fires.
Safety tips
  • 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 cell phones, computers or portable radios while refueling, follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Use only 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 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 percent full to leave room for expansion.


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