By Tim Baxter, Road Safety and Loss Prevention Specialist

Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office – Fuel Storage Division
Rules and Regulations

You may not remember but in December of 2015 at the Winter Highway Superintendents Association meeting, this topic was presented with handouts. Many issues were discussed pertaining to fuel storage and since then, there have been several changes.

We are in full swing with Shop Safety Audits and are finding many deficiencies where above ground fuel storage tanks are concerned. To better assist you in making the necessary improvements, listed below are some of the most glaring issues. Remember, the Fire Marshal’s office can fine counties for violations on each deficiency. We would much rather assist you in making the improvements than to see your county fined.

One of the worst problems we find is counties with fuel storage tanks located inside county shops, with no ventilation, no containment, etc. If you are going to allow fuel storage tanks inside county shops, they must comply with all Fuel Storage Division rules and regulations. They require venting at least two feet above the building roof line, containment, all required signing, barriers to prevent vehicles and equipment from hitting them, etc. Another problem with fuel storage tanks located inside county shops is fuel can only be dispensed from a container/tank that does not exceed 120 gallons. NFPA 9.2.4. The fuel tanks we are seeing in county shops are 300 gallons and larger, so no one can legally dispense fuel from those tanks anyway. If the tanks contain Type I fuel or gasoline, the entire building would require rewiring for Class I Division I fuels. NFPA 30.

Historically, one of NIRMA’s largest fire exposures has been road department shops. NIRMA’s reinsurer, County Reinsurance, Limited (CRL) has been taking a real hard look at property risk of loss, with fire being one of their prime concerns. Storing 300 gallons or more of fuel inside a shop is like allowing a bomb inside a building just waiting to go off. Should a fire start in a county shop with a fuel tank in it, the entire building could be lost in a short period of time.

Below are some standard and updated fuel storage regulations from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office – Fuel Storage Division:

  • The following decals/signs are required to be conspicuously posted on or near the fuel facility:
    • NO SMOKING
    • SHUT OFF ENGINE WHEN REFUELING IDENTIFICATION OF CONTENTS (TWO SIDES OF TANK)
    • LOCATION OF EMERGENCY FUEL SHUT OFF SWITCH
    • LOCATION OF FIRE EXTINGUISHER
  • Protective posts/barriers are required to protect the pump/tank from errant vehicles.
  • Fire extinguishers inspected monthly and annually, are required within 100 feet of fuel storage tanks.
  • A fuel containment system, liquid tight, is required on all above ground fuel tanks.
  • Handrail is required on steps and fuel depot platform and requires top and mid rails.
  • Holes shall not be cut in building walls to allow fuel lines or hose to run through to fuel equipment inside building from outside tank.
  • Above ground fuel storage tanks must be equipped with emergency venting terminating at least 12 ft. above the ground for Class I fuels/gasoline, and above snow line for Class II fuels/diesel.

County highway superintendents, and county boards with no full-time highway superintendents, who have fuel storage tanks inside county shops will be contacted requesting the tanks be relocated outside the building in compliance with fuel storage regulations.

Click the link below to download an updated version of the fire marshal’s office information from the 2015 Winter Meeting presentation.

 

Please contact Tim at 402-310-4417 or tim@nirma.info with any questions pertaining to fuel storage or contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office – Fuel Storage Division at their website, (www.sfm.ne.gov), or call their office at 402-471-2027.

Chad Engle contributed to this newsletter article.

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