MUSCAT, MAY 8 – The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances (PACDA) has cautioned the public against using mobile phones at petrol stations. PACDA has also called on the motorists to switch off the engines. It has warned that in summer the chances of a blaze are much higher as it can trigger fire due to the scorching heat. Similarly, smokers are warned not to light up near fuel stations as it can be fatal not only for themselves but also for others. “Lighting up a cigarette or using mobile phones near the petrol stations are extremely dangerous as it can trigger fire beyond any control and prevention always pays off,” a senior PACDA officer has said.
Several such incidents, especially during summer, were reported in the past and in 2015 there were three incidents in just two weeks in different parts of the country. Although there are several statutory warnings like ‘switch off mobile phones and vehicle engines and no smoking’, the public are mostly found to be ignoring these warnings. “The petrol station staff need to make sure that the fuel pump nozzle is disconnected from the fuel tank before the vehicle leaves,” he added. Filling petrol in cans and bottles, loose cables and old wiring too can cause sparks, and this can be even more dangerous near petrol stations and oil pipelines as they can ignite a fire leading to blast.
Experts say if the container in which the petrol is filled is not grounded, the generated static current can cause the fuel vapours to catch immediate fire. Grounding provides a path for an electric current to discharge safely. The electricity is dissipated in the ground, when a portable fuel container is grounded.