GASOLINE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND !
(With apologies to the Marine training adage 'once you pull the pin, Mr Hand Grenade is no longer your friend... ')
Far too many fires and burn injuries result from the careless or inappropriate use of gasoline. Because gasoline is so common in our environment, we tend to think of it as safe. While intended for use as a motor fuel, gasoline is commonly (and inappropriately) used as an insecticide, accelerant, solvent, weapon, intoxicant, paint remover, barbecue starter or cleaning fluid.
WHAT MAKES GASOLINE DANGEROUS ?
Gasoline has the dangerous combination of a low flash point combined with a high vapor density. The flash point of a liquid is defined as the temperature above which the liquid produces vapors which can ignite or explode. The flash point of gasoline is - 45 degrees F ( - 43 degrees C). In practical terms, this means that at all temperatures above minus 45 degrees, liquid gasoline is producing vapor which can ignite or explode. By comparison, the flash point of kerosene is 100 degrees F and the flash point of diesel fuel is 125 degrees F.
The vapor density is defined as the ratio of density of the vapor of a substance to the density of air. Air has a density of one. Substances with a vapor density of less than one are lighter than air and tend to dissipate easily. Substances with a vapor density greater than one are heavier than air and tend to accumulate in low places. Gasoline has a vapor density of 3 to 4. At normal temperatures, liquid gasoline is producing vapors that can catch fire, and which accumulate in low places. These vapors can travel considerable distances from the spill point. If you spill gasoline in the basement or in the garage, the flammable vapors can travel considerable distances and ignite from the pilot light of a hot water heater or furnace. Many building codes require that garage mounted hot water heaters be elevated 18 or more inches above floor level for this reason.
GASOLINE SAFETY TIPS
GASOLINE FIRE AND BURN PREVENTION RESOURCES:
American Burn Association Prevention Committee Campaign for Burn Awareness Week 2001:
Newsletter: Preventing Gasoline Burn Injuries 4 pages 64kb PDF file
Educator's Guide 17 pages, 112 kb PDF format gasoline Educator's Guide.pdf
Public Education Materials 9 pages, 93 kb, PDF format gasolinepubed.pdf
Powerpoint Presentation on Gasoline Burns 628 kb
Additional Resources 3 pages, 12 kb PDF format
Media Guide and sample Public Service Announcements Media Guide.pdf
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