During National Consumer Protection Week (March 5-11) CPSC reminds you to be cautious when using fuel containers, gasoline, and other liquid fuels. Each year, thousands of people go to hospital emergency departments with burn injuries related to flammable liquids. Many burn incidents involve liquid fuel used outside on a backyard fire pit, a campfire, a bonfire, or burning trash. Other burn incidents involve liquid fuel used inside classrooms during chemistry experiments.
If fuel vapor escapes from a fuel container and encounters a spark or flame, it can ignite and flashback into the container, causing an explosion that can severely burn those nearby. Flame mitigation devices, such as flame arrestors, protect against flame jetting and container rupturing. Flame jetting is a phenomenon where an external ignition source – such as an open flame – causes a sudden ignition of fuel within a container and forcefully expels burning vapor and liquid from the mouth of the container, resulting in a blowtorch-like effect. Container rupturing is like flame jetting, except the burning vapor and liquid are expelled through a rupture in the container.
Protect yourself and your children from injury by using fuel containers with child safety features and flame mitigation devices and by following these fuel container safety tips:
- Buy a gas can or portable fuel container that is child resistant.
- Keep gas cans and other portable fuel containers out of the reach of children.
- Never permit children to play with matches or fuel.
- Store gas cans and portable fuel containers in well-ventilated, cool areas only.
- Never leave fuel containers open, always put the cap back on after use.
- Store portable fuel containers in well-ventilated, cool areas only.
- Never store gas cans inside a house, basement, or near sources of ignition, such as fuel-burning appliances, open flames, pilot lights, stoves, heaters or electric mowers.
Backyard Fire Pits
- Never use gasoline to start a fire or to re-start a fire - even if you think the fire was not ignited.
- Only use appropriate fire starters and only before lighting the fire.
- Never add liquid fuel after trying to start a fire.
- Keep a hose or fire extinguisher nearby.
- Never burn when the risk of wildfires is high.
- Do not wipe flammable liquids from your hands onto clothing. Spot clean and line dry clothes if flammable liquids are spilled.
At the gas station
- Never smoke near gasoline or at a gas station.
- Always place a gas can on the ground to fill up at the gas station.
- Do not use plastic bags or other inappropriate containers with gasoline or other flammable liquids.
To learn more about fuel container safety, visit CPSC’s Fuel Container, Gasoline and Other Liquid Fuel Safety Education Center.