Following a recent incident where a man was badly injured, area manager for fire safety Ian Bitcon said: “Flammable fuels such as petrol give off vapours which, when in the correct mixture with air, become potentially explosive and can ignite violently if the circumstances are right.”
Vapours can even ignite through a build-up of static charge, for example, created by a nylon jumper.
With better weather on the way, people may be more likely to engage in activities such as mowing lawns or working on motor vehicles and should be especially vigilant when handling fuels.
AM Bitcon added: “During warmer summer months the vapours produced by fuels are greater due to their buoyancy; the risk is therefore significantly increased.
“So, if you are using petrol to fill lawnmowers or repairing old vehicles please consider our safety tips.”
Make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area, outside any building.
Only decant or pour small amounts of fuel; replace caps when you have completed your task.
Ensure all potential sources of combustion are removed from the area.
Make sure your clothing is not contaminated by the fuel; vapours cling to clothing for longer than you think.
Store fuel away from other combustibles in a clutter-free area.
People may be tempted to use such fuel to get a fire or barbeque going, which is also a potentially dangerous/explosive situation.
AM Bitcon said: “This should never be tried as many have been injured when the mixture has gone wrong and set fire to people’s clothing. We would recommend using appropriate fire lighters that are designed for such a task.”