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Safety a priority for Fuel Storage

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Safety concerns regarding the storage of flammable liquids hit the headlines following the threat of industrial action by fuel tanker drivers. After official advice was broadcast to stockpile a reserve supply the press went into a feeding frenzy when a woman was badly burned whilst decanting petrol into a container in her kitchen whilst a gas ring was lit.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Ministerial advice to have an gallon or two of fuel put by for emergencies, the case of the injured woman highlights a general lack of public understanding of the safety risks attached to the handling and storage of flammable substances both in the home but also in businesses.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service was one of many fire services that strongly urged homeowners not to store petrol because of these risks, but in practice a great many homeowners, myself included routinely store at least a gallon of fuel either for lawn mowers or for self-drive holidays and excursions, as an emergency reserve should the tank run low with no filling station in reach.

The issue of storing flammable liquids safely is not just about car fuel. Many proprietary off the shelf cleaning products, solvents, varnishes and paints found around the home are hydrocarbon based and are also a potential fire risk. In the right concentrations it is the invisible vapours from these products that are first to ignite and all it takes is one spark, a lit cigarette or a lit gas ring to cause an explosion and fire.
If you wish to store a small reserve of fuel there is no reason legal or otherwise why you should not, provided you put safety first. Legally you can store up to 30 litres in two suitable metal containers each of a maximum capacity of ten litres and two plastic containers (which have to be of an approved design) each of a maximum capacity of five litres. These limits also apply to any containers kept in your vehicle when parked in the garage or on the driveway

Having up to four fuel containers kicking around the garage is not a good idea. Having flammable cabinets in a secure garage or stored away from the main dwelling gives the volume capacity to allow you to store all your flammable products in one secure location. The cabinets are designed to protect the contents from accidental contact with heat sources and have spill retention trays and sumps to contain any leaks from containers. All our COSHH rated fire safety storage cabinets have the approved fire hazard label and security locks to prevent unauthorised access and keep inquisitive children at bay.

 

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