Immediate Steps to Take After Oil Release

Oil Tank Spill
Oil Tank Spill

Heating oil refers to all types of liquid home heating fuel including kerosene and #2 fuel oil. This term does not include propane, natural gas or other gaseous fuels. These gaseous fuels should be considered as highly explosive and dangerous. Heating oil, however, is combustible but not explosive.

The dangers of an oil spill or oil release is a serious hazard that should be dealt with immediately. Contact the local fire department (911) as soon as a heating oil release is discovered and also contact your oil company. Most oil companies will have a 24-hour service technician available to help you shut off valves and stop the oil release.

The Fire Department will routinely respond and address any immediate fire hazards and public safety issue. After notifying the appropriate authorities, keep you and your family far away from the heating oil and its vapors. Health issues may arise from a high concentration of oil vapors. Create ventilation throughout the area where you smell oil, open windows and turn on fans to increase air flow.

Before entering an enclosed area such as a basement where a significant amount of heating oil has been released, wear protective equipment and increase the air flow. Avoid making any contact with the heating oil with exposed skin or breathing in any of the fumes. Keep in mind the heating oil is indeed combustible, remove any source of ignition within the exposed area.

If your drinking water well has been contaminated, contact your local board of health and ask if your home is safe to inhabit.