'It's extremely dangerous': Warning over risks of storing petrol at home

A man fills up a jerry can with extra fuel. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

A man fills up a jerry can with extra fuel. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Firefighters have urged the public not to stockpile petrol at home, after people were seen filling jerry cans due to the shortage of fuel at filling stations.

Greg Preston, head of fire prevention and fire protection at Norfolk Fire and Rescue, urged people to think about the risk involved, saying: "Limits are there to prevent accidents from being worse than they could be.

"People need to think about where they're storing fuel, how they're storing it, how safe it is, if there's potential ignition nearby, and if the area is well ventilated."

The legal limit for the amount of fuel that can be stored in a domestic setting is 30 litres.

Greg Preston, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s head of prevention and protection.

Greg Preston, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s head of prevention and protection. - Credit: Archant

He continued: "Also, people aren't necessarily storing this petrol in safe containers, a lot of the storage you can buy aren't designed to be secure enough. Petrol is very good at finding an ignition source, especially if it's being transported in the back of your car.

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"Should an accident happen when you're storing an illegal amount of fuel — more than 30 litres — your car or home insurance will be affected. They may not pay out because you've broken the law.

"Consider if you really need to store that much and how long it will take you to actually use it, and remember that vital services need fuel in order to operate.

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"Storing petrol is extremely dangerous, please consider the risk to yourself, your family, your property, even your neighbours, before you do so."

Assistant chief at Norfolk Fire Service, Scott Norman, at the scene of the fire of a thatched house

Scott Norman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Scott Norman, said: “We would encourage people not to fill petrol cans for the purposes of stockpiling fuel, to help ensure good supplies for all and to reduce risk.”

The 30 litres you are allowed to domestically store must be contained in ten-litre plastic containers, twenty-litre metal containers, or thirty-litre demountable fuel tanks.

When not stored properly, the vapour can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and exposure to high concentrations, particularly in confined spaces, can cause dizziness and unconsciousness.

Bosses at the AA have said that people "shouldn't even contemplate storing it at all".

You can go online to Norfolk Fire and Rescue, the National Fire Chiefs Council, or the Health and Safety Executive to learn more about safety guidelines surrounding petrol storage. 

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