Safety First: Congress and ASTM Press for Safer Fuel Containers

MIAMI, OKLA. – What’s a danger to your household that may be sitting in your garage? An old, rusty and leaking metal fuel container. Replacing a worn-out gas, kerosene or diesel container can be one of the smartest --- and safest --- steps you take to protect your family and pets.

Fuel container safety is such an important topic that the Congressional Fire Services Institute reports a related bill was introduced to Congress on January 28, 2019. The bill directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt a standard requiring the addition of flame mitigation devices (FMDs) to consumer-grade portable fuel containers.

According to the Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association (PFCMA), FMDs are designed to prevent the rare occurrence of the transmission of a flame into a container and then igniting flammable vapor inside the container. The FMD allows a container to safely and effectively function for the user and meet the other standards applicable to portable fuel containers.

FMDs Help Prevent Injuries

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports an average of 160,910 fires occur each year involving ignition of a flammable or combustible liquid. This leads to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. Requiring FMDs on fuel containers can help prevent “flame jetting” or “flashback” to fuels and vapors within the container, which will help prevent burn injuries and fatalities.

“As a leading supplier of fuel containers, Scepter fully supports the new standards and proposed congressional bills for enhanced safety with fuel containers,” says Dan Marshall, vice president of marketing and business development with Scepter. “All of our fuel containers made in the United States are manufactured with FMDs to make them as safe as possible for storage and use.”

The proposed Congressional bill is seen as a step toward building on the safety standard base established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). “The industry has just established the ASTM F3326-19 Standard Specification for Flame Mitigation Devices on Portable Fuel Containers,” says Marshall. “If you use a fuel container at home or work, now is the time to invest in a new one that meets the standards set by ASTM for safety and flame mitigation.”

Staying Safe: Correct Uses for Fuel Containers

Marshall stresses that consumers should make themselves clearly aware of how and when to replace older containers and then safely use fuel containers.

“Older containers can leak both fuel and fumes, which are a danger wherever they’re stored,” says Marshall. “You don’t want even the slightest spill of fuel in an area where a pet can unknowingly lick it up, or a container without a child safety cap if there are children in the family.

“Here’s a really important tip: Gasoline or diesel should never be used to start fires or ignite barbeques. Fuel should also not be used to kill insect nests or clean grease or glue off anything. It’s critical that people understand that fuel --- and potentially explosive vapors ---should never come in contact with any ignition source."

As directed on individual fuel containers, the safest use for portable, certified containers is to run yard and sports equipment, vehicles and boats. Containers should be stored in secure, dry locations away from heat sources, pets and easy access to children. And, the FMD should never be removed from the fuel container. A video showcasing proper filling and use of Scepter fuel containers is available on the company’s website.

Selecting a New Fuel Container

Scepter’s newest product, the Scepter TM SmartControl TM fuel container, features a unique push spout for fast pours without spills. With a single motion, the user simply presses the lever up to unlock the child safety feature with the palm of the hand, and then squeezes the large button. The first squeeze is done when upright to vent the container. Then, the nozzle gets placed over the tank. A second squeeze allows users to pour just the right amount of fuel.

“This new generation of fuel container is easier to use than any previous container,” says Marshall. “We’ve listened to helpful input from homeowners and professionals that have allowed us to completely reengineer our containers. We’ve used their feedback to fine-tune the operation of the containers to make it simpler and safer than ever before to use a fuel container.”

The rugged SmartControl containers are Made in America and designed to substantially exceed ASTM and CPSC minimum standards. Each product includes child safety locks and a flame mitigation device for added protection.

“The best advice is to look at every safety feature when purchasing a new fuel container,” says Marshall. “Take the time to make sure the container meets industry standards and definitely has a FMD. These are the steps to take to assure safely storing fuel around your home or business.”

Available in one-, two- and five-gallon sizes, the SmartControl line includes containers for gasoline, diesel and kerosene. Recipient of the “Best in Class” Award at the 2018 National Hardware Show, SmartControl containers are constructed of durable and safe high-density polyethylene.

With operations throughout North America, Scepter has manufactured containers for the consumer, marine and military markets for almost 70 years. SmartControl and other Scepter products are available at major retailers and home improvement centers throughout the country.

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