How can I protect myself at gas stations?

With reports of gas station crimes and fires in Florida on the rise, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself while you are at the pump. According to Credit Donkey, gas station fires cause injury to at least 50 people annually. For every 13 fuel stations, one facility ends up with a fire. Also, the number of robberies that occurred in gas stations back in 2012 was 7,100.

Turn your vehicle off

It is important for you to turn your car off before you start pumping gas. If you neglect to do so, the fumes from the gas could ignite and cause fire and gasoline burns. Also, you should avoid smoking while you are at the gas station.

Stay aware of your surroundings

Most robberies are crimes of opportunity. Criminals often choose people who look like easy targets because they are not aware of their surroundings. Avoid dark places and only go to gas stations that are well lit. Look around for the presence of surveillance cameras and security equipment. Stay off your cellphone and mobile device when you are at the pump. Monitor your surroundings. If you see something or someone that looks suspicious or you feel uncomfortable, leave the gas station and go to another one.

Hide your valuables in the car

Criminals walk by cars and look inside for signs of valuables. If they see something of interest in your vehicle, they may break into it and assault you in the process of obtaining it. You should make sure your valuables are hidden out of plain sight before you pull up into the gas station and get out of your vehicle.

Robberies

If you are inside of a gas station while it is being robbed, pay attention to the demands that are made. To lessen your chances of assault and injury do not resist the offenders. Give them what they want and comply with their demands. Be sure to take mental notes of their description and the events as they occur so you can report them to the authorities.

Many gas station crimes and fires are not time dependent. However, many of these incidents are preventable with proper precautions, security measures and attention to details.