Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Emergency Procedures

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 Fire | Leaks or spills | Contaminated soil


In the event of a petroleum fire:

  • Contact the local fire department – call 911
  • If safe to do so, remove any injured people to a safer location, generally upwind from the fire
  • If there is a danger of explosion, get away!
  • If safe to do so, stop the flow of fuel feeding the fire
  • Remove on-going sources of ignition i.e. shut off the electricity
  • Attempt to extinguish flames using approved equipment (Purple K type fire extinguisher)
  • If a person who is splashed with fuel catches fire, wrap him in a blanket or roll him on the ground to remove oxygen and extinguish the fire. If this doesn’t work, use a Purple K dry chemical fire extinguisher to put out the fire
Not all fire extinguishers are the same. First you need to know what type of fire you are dealing with:
Class A – ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, plastic, etc.
Class B – flammable and combustible liquids such as grease, gas, oils, paints, etc.
Class C – electrical equipment such as appliances, computers, breakers, motors, etc.
Class D – burning metals such as aluminum, magnesium, sodium, etc.

Each type of fire requires a different type of extinguisher:
  • Pressurized Water – Class A fires only
  • Dry Chemical – Class ABC fires. Include Type ABC, Type BC and Purple K fire extinguishers
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – Class B and C fires only. These don’t leave harmful residues behind
  • like dry chemical extinguishers
  • Metal or Sand – Class D fires only. The most common extinguishing agent in this class is sodium chloride, but there are a variety of other options
It is vital to know what type of extinguisher you are using. Using the wrong type of extinguisher for the wrong type of fire can be life-threatening. It is also imperative that inspection and service of your extinguisher is done on a regular basis to ensure the device operates properly when eeded.

Leaks or Spills

In the case of spills, those living and working on the farmstead need to be responsible for minimizing environmental and safety risks by following these steps:
  1. Isolating the affected area
  2. Wearing protective clothing
  3. Ventilating the area
  4. Stopping further leaks
  5. Containing the spill area
  6. Reporting the spill
  7. Cleaning the spill
  8. Decontaminating the spill area
  9. Disposing and reclaiming the waste
To ensure human health and safety, protect the environment and prevent a more extensive problem, report all spills to Alberta Environment (immediately if entering or threatening a water body or source). Reporting a spill provides information if clean-up is required. It also provides a record in case the incident is reported by someone else and leads to an investigation that may result in costly sample taking and associated chemical analyses to determine what has been spilled.

In the case of a non-hazardous, accidental spill, it is always a good idea to carry a supply of fresh water and a clean pair of gloves to wear when cleaning up. First, it is important to read any product labels or contact the manufacturer for advice on clean-up procedures (most products have a 1-800 customer service number on the label). Disposing of all absorbent materials must be done in an approved landfill. If the spill is large, evacuate the area and notify Alberta Environment.

To report a spill, contact:
  • Alberta Environment’s Emergency Response Centre at 1-800-222-6514
Contaminated Soil

There are a couple of methods commonly used to deal with contaminated soil: land spreading and landfill.

A. Land spreading
This involves composting of the contaminated soil that is spread on a suitable field surface. Soil microorganisms break down the hydrocarbons as the material is periodically turned and mixed with organic matter (eg., manure). Before attempting this method of treatment, ensure that runoff is controlled and that there is a minimal risk to groundwater contamination (i.e. water table protected by natural clay barrier, etc.). Land treatment of contaminated soils should be done between April and November, weather permitting. Outside of this time period, the contaminated soil can be stockpiled if adequate precautions are taken to prevent leaching of contaminates from the soil into the underlying soils and runoff.

It is recommended that you seek professional advice when considering land treatment of contaminated soils. Also refer to the Alberta Code of Practice for Land Treatment of Soil Containing Hydrocarbons, made under the EPEA..

B. Landfill
Contaminated soil can be hauled to an approved landfill. Contact your local landfill to ensure that the site accepts such material.

Source: Agdex 769-1. September 2008.

Other Documents in the Series

  Farm Fuel Storage and Handling
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Why is Farm Fuel Storage and Handling Such an Important Issue?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - What can You do?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - What is the Legislation Regarding Farm Fuel Storage?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - What are the Risks?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - What are Other Common Issues With on Farm Fuel Storage?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - What Types of Fuel Storage Systems are Available?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Planning Your Fuel Storage Site - What You Need to Know
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - What do You do With the Old Tanks?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Emergency Procedures - Current Document
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Are There Special Considerations for Storing and Handling Biofuels?
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Appendix: Frequently asked questions
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Appendix: Emergency Plan and Spill Kits
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Appendix: Monitoring for Fuel Losses and Fuel Inventory Sheet
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Appendix: For More Information
Farm Fuel Storage and Handling - Appendix: Glossary and Acronyms
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Melissa Orr-Langner.
This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on September 26, 2008.