Storing Flammable Substances Safely
If you store flammable substances, it is important that you store them in a safe manner, to avoid the risk of damage to your home or business by fire or explosion. Insurance policies generally will not cover damage caused by flammable materials if it can be proved via investigation that you did not store them properly.
Containers with flammable or combustible materials should be clearly labelled and stored in containers that are approved for the storage of those materials. The area where these materials are stored should be clearly marked as a “no smoking” area. No activity should be carried out that will produce a spark near materials that are flammable.
It is an option to store combustibles in refrigerators, but the unit should not be a domestic type fridge. The unit is required to be explosion proof and used only for the storage of flammable materials. Safety cans used for the storage of flammable liquids must be less than five gallons and should release pressure in case a fire breaks out nearby.
Combustible storage cabinets need at least two vents on opposite sides of that cabinet – bottom left and top right in order to protect the contents from fire. If these liquids and materials are being stored in a room, there must be proper ventilation and emergency spill clean-up equipment placed nearby.
Only chemicals that are compatible should be stored together. Review the material safety data sheet for every chemical that you store and separate those that are not compatible with a fire wall. The appropriate fire extinguishers should be located nearby that are to be used on specific materials.
It is a good idea never to store more flammable material than you will use up in a reasonable period of time. If you are storing these materials in a garage, you need to be careful where you install sprinklers if any of the materials are reactive to water. Some important tips to keep in mind for storing flammable substances include:
- Never mix chemicals that are not compatible, even to save space. You may be creating a dangerous chemical reaction that is highly combustible;
- Ensure that there is the proper fire suppression system near the stored chemicals in case of fire;
- Make sure that you keep combustible and flammable materials from one another to prevent damage from possible explosion if a fire breaks out;
- Keep a container of sand near the stored materials
Make sure that everyone knows the location of these materials and the danger associated with them. The more aware people are, the better the chance that the materials will remain safely stored with no chance of starting a fire.