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Preventing Burns from Gasoline Fires

For most people, gasoline is probably one of the few truly dangerous materials you deal with on a regular basis. Anyone who drives a car to and from work has to pull into a gas station from time to time for a fill-up. Many people also come in contact with gasoline at home when using lawn equipment, which often means storing some of it on the premises.

This is one of the reasons the American Burn Association has declared the week of February 4 through February 10, 2018, as Burn Awareness Week. It’s an opportunity to educate the public about the hazards presented by gasoline and other flammable materials, as well as how to minimize the danger.

According to the ABA, while gasoline is a liquid, gasoline vapors are also flammable and can ignite from as far as 12 feet away from the source. Per year, 454 people are killed by gasoline burns, as well as nearly 4,000 people who are injured. Property damage due to gasoline burns is estimated at $1.5 billion annually.

The Orlando Health Burn Center

At Orlando Health, we offer the only Burn Center in Central Florida, part of our Level One Trauma Center at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Our mission at the Burn Center is to provide comprehensive care to adult burn patients, which includes inpatient and outpatient services. We also provide specialized surgical and rehabilitative care administered by a multidisciplinary team of dedicated professionals.

We strive to prevent burns through community activism, offering education programs on burn prevention to the general population, as well as to first responders and community healthcare partners. For those patients who do suffer from serious burns, we offer continued care and support after the patient is discharged for the patients and their families.

Gasoline safety

One of the most important safety precautions you can practice when dealing with gasoline is to always keep it away from flames, sparks or extreme heat. For example, when you’re filling your car up with gas, stay outside your car throughout the process. Getting in and out of your car while gas is being pumped into the tank can cause static electricity and it only takes one spark to ignite it. For the same reason, you should avoid using your cell phone while pumping gas as well.

At home, never pour gasoline into your lawnmower while the engine is hot. Instead, check your gas level before you start it up and make sure you have enough to finish. If you have to store gas, it’s best to keep it in a shed, if you have one, and always store it in a container that’s specifically approved for gas. If you don’t have a shed, keep it in the garage away from any sources of heat, like a water heater or furnace.

Additional safety tips include:

  • Store gasoline only in cool, well-ventilated areas, preferably outdoors.
  • Keep the lid on your gasoline container tightly closed during storage.
  • Always keep gasoline out of the reach of children.
  • Never siphon gas by mouth.
  • Never use gasoline to start or grow a fire.

If you or someone you’re with suffers a serious gas burn, make sure to remove all clothing and jewelry from the burn area, then run cool tap water (but not cold water) over it for about 10 minutes. Then cover the burn loosely with a clean dry sheet or bandage and seek medical help as soon as possible.

Are you interested in learning more about our Emergency and Trauma Care?

Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. Which is why all Orlando Health hospitals are equipped and staffed to handle any emergency situation — big or small. Our team of physicians are all board certified in emergency medicine, and are here for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are also proud to offer Central Florida’s only Level One Trauma Center, located at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center.


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