GASOLINE—or any flammable liquid—is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…a tricky, two-faced character found in almost every plant and home. Harnessed properly, gasoline serves as a vital source of energy. Treated carelessly, it is an explosive monster turned loose!
What ignites and causes these lethal blasts? At the filling station, you’ve noticed gasoline vapors shimmering from the pump nozzle like heat waves on hot concrete. It’s these vapors that are explosive, and they really travel! Flashes have occurred over 200 feet away from the gasoline source. Vapors are present with all flammable liquids, to some extent, so all are potentially dangerous.
If you’ve never been burned by a flammable liquid, we hope it’s due to good sense rather than good luck. Luck is fickle! Rely only on good sense by using the following precautions when handling ALL flammables.
- Keep flammables only in the containers in which they arrive, or in approved safety containers. Be sure all containers are plainly marked, with contents labeled.
- Read labels on all containers carefully, and follow all precautions outlined. “Flammable,” “inflammable,” “combustible,” all mean the contents will burn!
- For working quantities, take only what is absolutely needed, and use only approved safety cans that are in good condition.
- Never use near hot surfaces. When refueling a gasoline engine, always stop the engine first and allow it plenty of time to cool.
- Never smoke, use open flame, or strike a spark where flammable liquids are used or stored.
- To prevent static electricity, keep the lip of the one container in direct contact with the lip of the other when pouring a flammable.
- Use in an unconfined area where there is plenty of air circulating—out-of-doors, whenever possible. Always leave yourself a good avenue of escape, in case of flash.
- Keep your clothes entirely free of the liquids you’re using. Never handle flammables when wearing oily or greasy clothing.
- Keep all containers tightly closed when not in use. Return flammables to the proper storage area as soon as you’re through with them.
- Store flammable liquids in fire-resistant rooms or cabinets. At home, it’s best to keep them out of the house, and out of the range of children’s curiosity.
These practical rules will enable us to enjoy the valuable services of our friend, Dr. Jekyll…while keeping the vicious monster, Mr. Hyde, imprisoned behind the bars of common sense, for good.