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Gas Station Safety

February 15, 2013, 6:04 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Gas Station Safety

Not only did Thursday's crash happen at a busy intersection, but it was dangerously close to gas pumps. We spoke with one gas station owner about the safety systems in place to make sure a bad situation doesn't get worse.


Gary Cone has been in the gasoline business for 42 years and he knows a thing or two about gas pump safety.

"It's this safety valve right here. If something happened and the pump was on and it got busted off, that will flip that little valve in there and it will skip it up and shut the flow of the product off," Cone said.

There are a few different safety precautions that Cone takes at his station, the Hilltop BP on South Cleveland Avenue.
Even the simplest things can make a big difference in keeping his customers safe.

"Our pumps are all built up. There's like a curb around all the pumps. So, they can't jump the curb," Cone said.

There are other features like the fire valve, also known as a safety shut-off, which all gas stations are required to have.

"This is where the safety valve is. If something were to happen to that pump, this little lever will trip and that will stop the flow of the gasoline from coming out of the ground," Cone said.

It's this valve that helps prevent accident, like Thursday's crash, from becoming a major explosion. There's also some comfort in knowing the gas is not flowing into the pumps if they're not in use.

"The pump won't come on unless they initiate it inside the store. Or use it with a credit card outside. So there's power out to them, but it won't go on unless they initiate it with a credit card," Cone said.

Another accident prevention piece of the pump, that's come in handy often, is for those people who get in a hurry to leave.

"We have what they call a breakaway hose. So, if they leave the hose in the car, which they've done several times, they drive off with the hose in it. Instead of tipping the pump over, or pulling it over, it'll breakaway at the top, at the top of the pump where the hose is connected. And there's a valve in there that automatically shuts that off also," Cone said.

And in worse case scenarios, Cone says he still has the power to shut it all down himself.

"We have automatic shut offs back there. If something happens we can shut every pump off. We have a big valve that will shut every pump off out here. Just push this one button," Cone said.

Cone has not had any major accidents at his station. But he did say one gas pump unit alone can cost up to $20,000.

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