Gasoline storage containers should never be filled to more than 90- to 95-percent capacity due to expansion that can occur.
Gasoline storage containers should never be filled to more than 90- to 95-percent capacity due to expansion that can occur. (Photo Credit: Photo illustration by Brian Hill) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — 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 and stored safely. Following these safety tips will help protect you and your family.

When fueling 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 refueling. 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 refueling latch on the pump nozzle in the open position with any object.

— Do not get back into your vehicle while refueling. Static electricity could generate a spark especially on dry, low-humidity days. If you cannot avoid re-entering your vehicle during fueling, 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 when it’s hot outside.

— 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.

When putting fuel in a portable gasoline container:

— Use only a UL (Underwriters Laboratories)-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 fueling a vehicle; turn off the engine, extinguish all ignition sources and 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 vapors.

— Keep the pump nozzle in contact with the container at all times during fueling to eliminate static electricity igniting fumes.

— Fill portable containers slowly to prevent over-filling or a spill, as well as decreasing static electricity.

— Fill the container to no more than 90 to 95 percent capacity 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, such as pilot lights, electric motors, heaters or stoves, or combustibles, such as paper, rags or cardboard.

Fueling equipment on trailers

Boats, lawnmowers, all-terrain vehicles, 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 refueling.

To minimize this risk, follow the same rules that apply to fueling 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 refueling.

— Move the equipment from the trailer to the ground for refueling. 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 refueling 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

— Only store the minimum amount of gasoline required, and never in a vehicle.

— Always keep gasoline away from children.

— Never siphon gasoline from one container to another 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, also known as a 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.

— Do not use gasoline as a weed killer or pesticide.