In owning a petrol station, you assume risk for several different types of emergency situations. By far the most common emergency petrol station owners may deal with is a fire. Due to the extremely flammable and combustible nature of fuel, fires can spread and escalate very quickly at your service station, causing significant damage and potential harm to on site personnel. As such, a quick and measured response is required in the event of a fire.
5 Steps to Fire Safety Response
1. Ensure Customer Safety
Your first priority in the case of a fire at your service station should always be the safety of the personnel at your business. This includes staff, customers, and any other personnel who may be on the premises.
If your petrol station includes a PA system, use the system to notify everyone on site that there is a fire, and they should immediately proceed to the emergency meeting point. Customers or those unfamiliar with the designated meeting point will need to be directed calmly and quickly to the emergency area.
2. Contain the Fire
The next step in a standard fire safety response should be to contain the fire. At a petrol station, it is most important to shut down the dispensers using the emergency stop button. When safe to do so, personnel should attempt to extinguish the fire using a fire extinguisher. See proper use instructions below. If the fire is too large to extinguish, leave the premises immediately and remain at the emergency meeting point.
3. Report The Fire
After extinguishing, or in the event the fire cannot be extinguished, it should be reported immediately to emergency services by calling 000. Staff should be prepared to provide the following information:
- Their name
- Details of the fire, including cause, scope, known injuries, etc
- Name of the business
- Address of the business
- Name of the nearest cross street
4. Inform Manager or Owner
Once personnel and customer safety has been ensured and the fire has been extinguished or reported, the next action should be to inform the manager or petrol station owner of the fire. Employees should understand that contacting the service station owner or manager should be secondary to previous steps, including calling emergency services. This order should be followed to ensure quick emergency response, and limit potential damage and harm caused by on site fires.
5. Document The Incident
All petrol station fires must be documented carefully in order to ensure a proper investigation of the incident can be done. Having an accurate record of the emergency allows for the cause of the incident to be determined, and helps prevent future incidents. All details of the event should be documented as soon as possible after the incident to ensure that they are accurately recorded.
How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher
When using a fire extinguisher, the PASS technique should be observed. Steps of the PASS technique are as follows:
- Pull the extinguisher’s pin to break the tamper seal.
- Aim low, pointing the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. Never touch the horn of a CO2 extinguisher. The cold of the horn can be damaging to the skin.
- Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep hose from side to side at the base of the fire or fuel source until fire is extinguished. If there is any doubt or uncertainty about capabilities to extinguish a fire at your petrol station, evacuate immediately to the emergency meeting point.
In following the above steps, petrol stations can minimise the scope of damage and harm done in the event of a fire. Ensuring that all employees are properly and thoroughly trained in fire response will give owners and managers peace of mind, and allow workers to feel confident in the event of a fire emergency.
It is the petrol station owners legal responsibility to ensure all staff are trained in how to respond in the event of a fire emergency. ServoPro Members have free access to ServoSkills, our online training course for petrol station employees.