Community Report - GULF NEWS Dt. 09.07.2010 - Spilt fuel can have dire consequences
En route to Dubai from Abu Dhabi, when using the Saadiyat Island road, motorists have limited options to fill up their vehicles' petrol tanks once they leave the city.
Either they have to drive to Shahama — which is 40 kilometres away — or get to the major petrol station near Samha, which is 56 kilometres away from the city.
The rush of motorists in the afternoon is on the higher side, as there are many daily commuters who reside in Dubai and work in Abu Dhabi. This makes refuelling an issue, as there is a long queue at both these petrol stations during the afternoon and later on in the day.
On my frequent trips to Dubai, during different times, I have observed some significant safety-related issues and other matters that pose an inconvenience to the public. I wish to highlight them here.
Firstly, there is no petrol station on this stretch of road for about 40 kilometres — and any motorists leaving the city without enough fuel are bound to get stuck. Incidentally, there is no petrol station in the Mina area, too, which has significant heavy vehicle traffic and thus a petrol station at the exit of Mina or somewhere in the Mina area next to vegetable market or the animal market would be welcomed by all motorists who use this road.
Secondly, I have noticed several times that due to the heavy rush, motorists often go to the wrong side of the petrol-filling units. The attending staff then have to stretch the hose to fill the tank.
The drivers mostly sit inside their vehicles while the petrol station attendants connect the hose and then rush to the next vehicle. The weather is extremely hot and due to the pressure, fuel is often spilled all over the place until someone points it out and asks the attendant to stop and reconnect the hose.
This is an extremely dangerous situation as the engines of vehicles are usually running and a mere spark from any possible source could definitely lead to a major disaster.
Witnessing one such occasion, I made an effort to talk to the station supervisor of a major petrol station near Samha on the way to Dubai and was told that the arrangements of filling on the wrong side, using extended hoses, has been initiated to reduce the rush.
Also, I did not find an effort to neutralise the fuel spilt using sand or any other precautionary safety measures. Only half a bucket of water was poured and the attendants were of the opinion that in the heat, it would evaporate quickly.
Using Gulf News' community report platform, I request the authorities to set up a petrol station in Mina area for the benefit of motorists and to also provide their staff with the necessary safety training. Safety equipment must be installed and made available at these units, too.
People should be given instructions not to leave their cars unattended if they are being filled at the wrong side of the petrol pump. Drivers also have a major role in ensuring safety as they have to keep an eye on the process and if there is any problem, should alert the staff immediately.
Safety is the responsibility of every individual. Let us not act after an incident has occurred — let us try and prevent it.
— The reader is a technical officer, based in Abu Dhabi
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