TEMA: Improper portable fuel containers pose explosion, fire risks at gas pumps

Gas pump

NASHVILLE (WATE) –The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and State Fire Marshal’s Office wanted to remind Tennesseans today of the hazards associated with filling portable fuel containers at petroleum stations.

“We are asking Tennesseans to use only approved, portable fuel containers and only fill them up if it is absolutely necessary,” said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan. “There is petroleum available to meet the needs of Tennessee, even with the supply disruption caused by the Alabama pipeline leak, if consumers will keep their normal driving and fuel buying habits.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, offers consumers the following safety tips for filling portable gas containers:

· Use only approved portable containers for transporting or storing gasoline.

· Never fill a portable container when it is in or on the vehicle. Always place the container on the ground before filling. 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.

· Gas cans/containers should never be transported in the passenger compartment.

· Don’t smoke or use lighters while refueling.

“Filling an ungrounded, unapproved portable fuel container can cause sparks from static charges, and lead to explosions and fires at gas stations,” said State Fire Marshal Gary West. “Additionally, there are explosion and fire dangers associated with storing and transporting large quantities of fuel.”

According to the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, approved portable gas containers have less than 5 gallons of capacity, have flame-arresting screens, spring closing lid, and spout cover, and are designed to relieve internal pressure.

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