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Gasoline and Flammable Substance Safety

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  • Gasoline and flammable substances are involved in one-third of all burn center admissions and nearly one-fifth of all burn-related deaths in Oklahoma.
  • Gasoline-related burns are often caused by gasoline being thrown on a fire or ignited by a match; this is a serious problem, usually involving bonfires, trash, or brush.
  • Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can flow invisibly along the ground for a considerable distance and be ignited by a flame or spark.
  • Gasoline that has been spilled on clothes or a person’s body can be ignited just by walking near a fire.
  • It is illegal to burn trash in an area where trash collection services are available.
  • Recycle, compost, and use tree clippings as mulch to reduce the use of brush fires.


  • Gasoline should never replace charcoal lighter fluid to ignite fires.
    • Gasoline can produce vapors that can ignite at all temperatures, even at 45°F below zero. In comparison, charcoal lighter fluid does not produce vapors unless the temperature is over 160°F.
  • Teach children:
    • never to use or play with gasoline or other flammable liquids;
    • about the hazardous properties of gasoline and other flammable liquids;
    • never to use or play with matches or lighters;
    • life-saving techniques like stop, drop, and roll.
  • Never use gasoline to:
    • start or restart a fire;
    • clean greasy engine parts;
    • thin paint or clean brushes.
  • Properly store gasoline:
    • use approved gasoline safety containers (non-approved containers can explode and leak the gasoline);
    • never store gasoline inside the home;
    • do not store gasoline near hot water tanks or furnaces in the garage.
  • When fueling engines:
    • refuel lawn mowers and other engines only after they are off and have cooled;
    • only refuel outside the home in a well-ventilated area;
    • never re-enter your vehicle while fueling at a gas station.

Internet Resources

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised February 2012

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