We all have flammables in our home, but do you know how to properly store them when they’re not in use? Many people do not. When stored improperly, flammables can have devastating consequences including poisoning, fires, and explosions. So if you keep gasoline, propane or other flammables in or around your home, here is how you can store them properly—and hopefully avoid problems.
It’s important to always keep flammables in the proper containers. This is because even if you store flammables in a cabinet for safekeeping, the wrong container can lead to problems. Never use everyday items such as milk jugs, Tupperware, or old paint cans for storage of flammables. Flammables should be kept and transported only in approved containers such as Factory Mutual (FM)-approved safety cans. This is because flammables are extremely volatile. Even the smallest disruption could cause trouble—so having proper storage containers is vital.
At home or work, properly storing flammables is also important. Many people store flammable materials in a garage, basement, or utility room. This can be a fatal mistake. Highly flammable liquids should always be kept in a well-ventilated area that is detached from your home. Never store flammable liquids near equipment that can cause a spark, like electrical tools. Also, flammables need to be kept away from open flames or other sources of ignition—like your car or cigarettes. And household appliances like washers and dryers can also cause flammables to spark—so keep flammable cans a safe distance from those as well as HVAC systems and hot water heaters.
When storing flammables take note of the temperature in the storage area. The room where your flammables are stored should never be exposed to high heat, such as intense summer temperatures, or direct sunlight. If you don’t have an area around your home that meets this criterion, you can build a storage cabinet or purchase a flammable liquid storage cabinet through your local building supply or hardware store. Your storage area should always be kept locked so that children and pets can’t get into stored flammables.
Proper storage of flammables is important not just for your safety, but for the safety of your family and coworkers. Use common sense when handling flammables. And always take the time to store them properly so that you can avoid problems down the road.