Fire Safety in the Summer Sun: Boats and fuel

  • Published
  • By Tim Johnston
  • 30th Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector
Summer is here and that means barbecues, lemonades by the pool, and camping trips. It also means increasing awareness of summer fire hazards. This summer doing all the things that make the season so fun means doing them safely.


Before fueling a boat, people must extinguish smoking materials and shut off all motors, fans and heating devices. Make sure the fueling nozzle is grounded to the fuel intake.

When filing the tank, don't fill it all the way - leave room for expansion. Wipe up any spills immediately and check the bilge for fuel leaks and odors. Before you start the engine, ventilate with the blower for at least four minutes.

For those with a covered boat, they should install a smoke detector and check it's battery before using the boat each time. Replace the battery at least once a year.


Store gasoline outside of a house, preferably in a locked, detached shed. Keep it up high, inside a clearly marked container that's labeled and approved for gasoline storage. And keep it and all flammable liquids away from any heat source or open flame, including pilot lights. Use gasoline as a motor fuel only, and only keep as much as is needed to power your gasoline-fueled equipment.

Before fueling, extinguish smoking materials and take the piece of equipment outside into an open area. Wipe up any spills immediately, and move the equipment at least 10 feet from the fueling area before starting it. Before refueling, turn the piece of equipment off and let it cool completely.

For further information concerning summer time fire safety or the fire danger rating system, call the Vandenberg Fire Prevention Office at 606-4680.