View Full Version : Fire and Fumes

07-15-2011, 02:43 PM
Fire and fumes pose a potential threat to any person working in or around a garage where repairs are being made.

Gasoline is highly flammable, especially if fumes are allowed to build up in a confined area. Do not smoke or maintain any kind of open flame where gasoline is stored or being used. This includes a pilot light flame from a space heater or water heater. Also beware that any kind of spark could ignite gasoline fumes. This includes sparks caused by two metal surfaces making contact, even bumping two metal parts together; a spark from an electrical short circuit; or a spark generated by a static electricity build up in your own body, for example, from rubbing the cloth upholstery on the interior of a vehicle. Shield the batter terminals when working near the battery terminals, since touching a terminal with a metal part or a tool can generate a spark.

Remember to disconnect the ground (black) lead from the battery when you are doing any kind of fuel system work. Do not risk spilling fuel on a hot exhaust or engine part. Maintain a fire extinguisher that is suitable for fighting electrical and fuel fires. One should be within easy reach at all times in your work area or garage. Never attempt to extinguish an electrical or fuel fire with water.

Many liquids and gases used in the garage and work place contain dangerous fumes. These fumes can cause unconsciousness or death if inhaled even in small amounts. If you have an older style garage with an inspection pit, never pour gasoline in or near the pit. The fumes emanating from the gasoline are heavier than air and will accumulate in the pit, where if you breathe them, can cause blackouts or death. Solvents like trichloroethylene and many adhesives emit fumes that are dangerous. Read labels carefully and never use cleaners or solvents from unmarked containers - you just do not know what is in them.

It is worth repeating that exhaust fumes contains off poisonous, odorless and colorless carbon monoxide gas. Always run your engine in the open, or at least safely vent the exhaust pipe to the out-of-doors.

Following these simple guidelines can help you avoid serious injury and keep you alive and well.