Around the house you have flammable and combustible materials used for multiple purposes. Flammable materials are substances that will catch fire and easily burn at normal temperatures, while combustible products may catch fire if ignited or exposed to flame. Gasoline is not the only flammable and combustible product you may find at home. Other substances that can cause serious damage or fire are diesel fuel, propane, butane, turpentine, kerosene, lighter fluid, paint solvents, oil, spray paint, pesticides, dry cleaning agents and cleaning fluids, nail polish, perfume, and more.
Presence of mind is always needed when you are using flammable materials at home. Using them only for their purpose and handling them safely will spare you and your family from potential accidents or injuries. Take a look around your home and make sure all hazardous materials are stored properly.
- Before storing or using any flammable liquids or hazardous materials, carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s label on the container or package.
- Keep the flammable materials in their original packages or containers. Check for any container defect, cracks or leaks. In cases where you must transfer them, do not use water or drink bottles. Only use approved containers as prescribed by the manufacturer.
- Chemicals may also interact dangerously if mixed together. In order to prevent possible danger, always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation should you need to keep particular materials apart.
- When not in use, packages or containers must be sealed.
- Keep all hazardous materials out of reach of children.
- Never mix dangerous goods with your grocery goods.
- Never store gasoline inside your house. A detached chemical storage area or garage is ideal to store gasoline and all other labeled flammable substances. For large establishments, they should have separate chemical storage building where all flammable materials are stored.
- Storage must be away from ignition sources that can cause fire or explosion. Examples of ignition sources are light switches, pilot lights, matches, cigarette lighters, a furnace, electrical heaters, static electricity, etc. Your chemical storage must also be kept away from passageways.
- If you have flammable liquids of over 100 liters in your storage, make sure you have a fire extinguisher. Your storage cabinet should also have a warning sign to ward off people who might be smoking.
- Keep all combustible wastes away from your storage cabinet.
- Throw away the cloths or rags you use for cleaning petroleum substances or keep them in a sealed container.
- Properly dispose of flammable product containers once they are depleted.
Safe handling of flammable materials means you also know how to properly use them. Be sure you are outside the house or in a well-ventilated area away from ignition sources when you open, pour, or use flammable chemicals. Minimize spillage and ensure the area is cleaned-up right away, including the exterior part or label of the container. In cases where there is spillage, open your windows for ventilation. However, do not use electrical devices or fans, in oder to prevent ignition sources from causing explosion.