VDFP Advises Virginians on Motor Fuel Dispensing and Storage Safety amid
the Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack
RICHMOND – May 12, 2021 – With the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack causing gas shortages in parts of the East Coast and in the Commonwealth, there have been reports of long lines at gas stations and Virginians traveling to remote locations to find gas reserves in order to stock up.
The Virginia Department of Fire Programs wants to advise residents and commuters about safe ways to dispense flammable fuels such as (gas, diesel or heating oil) into a portable container for proper storage:
- Flammable fuels should not be dispensed into portable containers over 6 gallons, and the containers should be listed and approved for the flammable liquid intended for the portable container.
- Portable containers should have a tight closure with a screwed or spring-loaded cover to prevent spills and vapors from escaping.
- When transporting gasoline in a portable container make sure it is secured against tipping and sliding, and never leave it in direct sunlight or in the trunk of a car.
- Flammable fuel should never be dispensed into portable cargo tanks or any other container not listed for flammable liquids.
- Never fill a container while located in the trunk, passenger area of a car or in the bed of a pickup truck.
- All containers should be placed on the ground and clear of any possible ignition sources such as the exhaust from a vehicle.
- Fill portable containers slowly to decrease the chance of static electricity buildup and minimize spilling or splattering. Keep the nozzle in contact with the rim of the container opening while refueling. Fill container no more than 95 percent full to allow for expansion.
- If gasoline spills on the container, make sure that it has evaporated before you place the container in your vehicle. Report spills to the station attendant.
- Never smoke around flammable fuels.
For additional reference, the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code outlines the specific requirements for fuel dispensing and storage:
- 2304.4 Dispensing Into Portable Containers
- 2304.4.1 Approved Containers Required
- 2304.4.2 Nozzle Operation
- 2304.4.3 Location of Containers Being Filled
Contact your local fire marshal or VDFP’s State Fire Marshal’s Office for further information regarding fire and life safety education.