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Storage of Petrol on Domestic Premises

30/Mar/2012

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) is warning the public of the dangers associated with storing petrol in or close to the home.

On the 13 September 2000, DFRS was called to a house on Porter Road, Normanton where a large quantity of petrol had been stored in containers which had developed a leak. Several houses in the immediate area had to be evacuated. As a result of this there was a risk that the property where the fuel was stored plus adjacent houses would have to be demolished due to the fuel soaking into the ground. Fortunately this option was avoided by the safe removal of the petrol; however several families had to stay away from their homes in alternative accommodation for some considerable time.

Petrol is a highly flammable, explosive and toxic substance and we would strongly advise that it should not be stored in homes if at all possible.

By storing petrol you are increasing the risk of fire or an explosion. We do realise that many people store petrol for use in lawn mowers and other garden equipment and by following some simple safety precautions, storage for this should not create a problem, if kept to a minimum.

  • It is against the law to store more than 20 litres (4 gallons) of petrol in two 10 litre (2 gallon) metal containers, or, 10 litres (2 gallons) in two 5 litre (1 gallon) plastic containers. All containers must be designed for purpose and they must be marked 'petroleum and highly flammable'.
  • Keep containers of petrol in a well-ventilated store such as a garage or shed away from any other buildings, naked flames or live electrical equipment. You should NOT under any circumstances store petrol in your home or any other living accommodation.
  • Check containers regularly for leaks. If you smell petrol fumes, ventilate the area and make sure nobody smokes or turns electrical switches on or off. The slightest spark could cause an explosion.
  • Filling your petrol tank from a container should only take place out in the open air.

Mark Leatherland, Petroleum Officer for Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service said "It is important that people follow the advice being given by the fire service and where possible petrol should not be stored, or where necessary, kept to a minimum.

"Householders should also consider that by storing excessive amounts of petrol, you may run the risk of invalidating your house insurance policy".

You can read more about the safe petrol storage on the Health and Safety Executive website at www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/petroleum-faqs.htm#storage.

Note To News Desks

Area Manager, Kam Basi was the Officer in Charge at the incident in 2000 and is available for comment on 07919 044228.

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