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The Dangers of Plastic Gas Cans

The dangers of gas cans, more specifically plastic gas cans, have been known for many years, and children are victims in 40 percent of documented gas can explosions. As far back as 1973, Consumer Reports magazine wrote of these dangers and how the resulting “accidents can be prevented by a flame arrester…” Despite ample evidence that these containers are more prone to explosions without a flame arrester, manufacturers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) haven’t acted to install arresters or warned consumers of this defect.

Review the safety tips below in order to prevent gasoline can fires or explosions.

Around Children…

  • Keep gasoline out of sight and secured away from children.
  • Never let children handle gasoline.

Around the home…

  • Store gasoline outside the home (e.g., in a garage or tool shed) in a safety can with a flame arrester – 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.

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