Last updated on April 26th, 2018
Safe Storage of Fuel
Do you store Fuel?
Gasoline, Diesel, Propane, Kerosene, Camp-Fuel, Alcohol, Fuel-Oils, Acetylene?
Are you storing them “Safely and Properly”?
Have a look at this perfectly timed photo of an exploding gas can. Probably staged, but still quite impressive to say the least:
Guest Article by NRP
Flammable liquids can be one of the most dangerous items anyone can store. Safe storage of gas and other fuels should be a top priority. If stored incorrectly it can lead to explosive disastrous results and even death.
Here is an excerpt from the National Fire Protection Association:
“In 2007-2011, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an estimated average of 51,600 fires per year starting with ignition of a flammable gas and another 160,910 fires per year starting with ignition of a flammable or combustible liquid.
The flammable gas fires resulted in an estimated 168 civilian deaths, 1,029 civilian injuries, and $644 million in direct property damage per year.
The flammable or combustible liquid fires resulted in an estimated 454 civilian deaths, 3,910 civilian injuries, and $1.5 billion in direct property damage per year.”
Let me reiterate, these numbers are PER YEAR!
$2,144,000,000 Property Damage
Safe Storage of Gas and Combustible Fuels
So, back to the question, Are you storing fuels safely?
Storing a can of gas in the garage may seem harmless enough, right?
Is the water heater in the garage? The furnace?
Where do you store the propane tanks? Even those little one pound tanks of propane for the Coleman Stove?
Where To Store Your Fuels
Storage of gas, fuels, or any combustible flammable liquids in the home or garage may not be one of the best places. For safe storage of gas or other combustible fuels, consider having a well (VERY WELL) ventilated shed away from the home.
[Ken adds:] This is the key to safe storage of gas (or any fuel combustibles)… Ventilation. Air flow. If you get a leaker, you want those fumes to escape rather than to build up waiting for a spark… The shed storage idea is excellent. Add vents if the shed doesn’t already have them. Several of them. They’re easy to install (just drill a 4″ round hole).
Vapors from different types of Flammables may be lighter than air or heaver than air. Hence the explosive vapors may creep along the floor and find the heater igniter or they may hug the Ceiling and come in contact with a Light Switch that sparks when you turn on a Light.
Using the proper container and marking these containers is the first step in proper safe storage of flammable liquids and gas.
I would hope that most of us would not think of storing a gallon of gas in a milk jug, right? Same with storing diesel in a glass gallon jug. How many of us have gas stored in a 55 gallon drum? Is that drum designed for that type of liquid?
Inspect your containers. Is there rust on the bottom of the gas can? What about the 100# propane tank? Are there cracks where the Handle is welded to the Tank? Does the shutoff valve seem very easy to turn, are the threads on the valve rusted?
A Short Story
A neighbor that lives within 5 miles had (key word ‘Had’) a 40 foot storage shipping container. In this container ha had stored his camping equipment, including many of those one pound propane tanks for the typical camp-stove.
After the local fire department had finished, the container looked very similar to the one pictured below.
It was determined one (just one) of those tanks had leaked and was ignited by a small electric heater he had in the container to keep “stuff” from freezing.
Obviously everything in the Container was a total loss including many of the family heirlooms never to be replaced. Fortunately nobody was injured, but the estimated loss was well over $15-$20k.
I am no expert on fire safety, but I am here to remind everyone that has fuel of ANY typed stored, please do so Properly and Safely.
It only takes a small spark to cause immense damage, destruction, injury and death.
Consult with your local fire department. They are the people that deal with disasters all the time and see the results of improper safety, and are of very valuable asset for information.