Filling metal gas cans on plastic surfaces poses fire hazard
Chevron USA has reported that several fires have occurred at its service stations as a result of customers` filling metal portable gasoline containers (gas cans) in the back of pickup trucks while the containers were resting on a plastic bed liner. The warning was issued in Chevron`s Marketing Bulletin 36-1094, obtained by Chief Charles T. Herzog of the Manitowoc (WI) Fire Department, who asked that the information be disseminated to the fire service community.
In its warning, Chevron explained that the insulating effect of the plastic surface prevents the static charge generated by the gasoline flowing into the gas can from grounding. As it builds, the static charge can create a static spark between the gas can and the fuel nozzle, Chevron adds. A fire occurs when the spark is in the flammable range in the gasoline vapor space near the open mouth of the gas can.
Chevron has issued the following directions for filling a gas can so the danger of fire can be minimized:
Use only an approved container.
Do not fill any container while it is inside a vehicle, inside a vehicle`s trunk, or on a pickup bed or on any surface other than the ground.
Remove the approved container from the vehicle and place it on the ground a safe distance away from the vehicle, other customers, and traffic.
Keep the nozzle in contact with the can during filling.
Never use a latch-open device to fill a portable container.
Follow all other safety procedures, including that of “no smoking.”