Follow a two-part strategy to prevent gasoline can fires or explosions. First, seriously consider buying a gas can with a flame arrester. Often called “safety cans,” these containers are normally made of metal rather than plastic. Many feature a spring-loaded cap that closes automatically. Major manufacturers of safety cans include Eagle and Justrite, and prices range from $35 to $75 depending on the size of the can. No-Spill also makes a plastic gas can with a flame arrester. Second, never forget how dangerous it is to use or store gasoline.
Review these safety tips:
Around children …
- Keep gasoline out of sight and secured away from children.
- Never let children handle gasoline.
- Download this tip sheet for parents from the National Gasoline Safety Project.
Around the home …
- Store gasoline outside the home (e.g., in a garage or tool shed) in a safety can as described above – never in glass or non-reusable plastic containers (e.g., milk jugs).
- Don’t use or store gasoline near possible ignition sources (e.g., electrical devices, oil- or gas-fired appliances, or any other device that contains a pilot flame or a spark).
- Never use gasoline inside the home or as a cleaning agent.
Around the yard and outdoors …
- Don’t use gas to start or accelerate a charcoal grill, wood stove, brush or camp fire or any other fire source.
- Let machinery cool before refueling.
- Clean up spills promptly and discard cleanup materials properly.
- Never use gasoline in place of kerosene.
- Don’t smoke when handling gasoline.
On the road …
- Don’t get in and out of your vehicle when fueling, as an electrical charge on your body could spark a fire.
- Place the gas can on the ground before filling, not inside a vehicle or in the bed of a pick-up truck.
And if a gas can fire starts …
- Do not attempt to extinguish the fire or stop the flow of gasoline. Leave the area immediately, and call for help.
For more detailed information, visit the National Fire Protection Association gasoline fire page.