Gasoline Storage Safety Tips

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For better or worse, gasoline is a big part of our daily lives. We use it in almost everything that requires power, from driving an automobile to cutting the grass. Gasoline should generally only be used for its intended purpose and should only be stored at home when there's no other alternative. If you need to store gasoline, take precautions to do so in a safe and responsible manner.

Approved Containers Only

  • The most important thing when storing gasoline around the family home is that it be done in safety containers approved by the local authorities, not glass or non-reusable plastic containers--storing gasoline in recycled milk and soda bottles is out of the question. Gasoline should be stored in red containers to distinguish it from kerosene (blue) and diesel (yellow). This color code should be followed at all times, because it makes each fuel recognizable at a quick glance.

Do Not Overfill

  • When filling a container with gasoline, you should only fill the container to around 95 percent of its capacity. If the container is kept in a warm place, the liquid gasoline will evaporate into a gas, causing the contents of the container to expand. If you do not have the 5 percent allowance, there is the potential for the expansion to force gasoline out of the container or to even distort the container, possibly breaking it. Because of this expansion, it is also important to seal all containers tightly with a well-fitted cap. This prevents spillage and poisonous fumes from escaping.

Select the Ideal Location

  • If you must store gasoline at home, it is recommended that you do so in the garage or tool shed, out of the reach of children. Gasoline fumes are toxic and ingesting the liquid can be lethal. As an extremely flammable liquid, gasoline should be stored away from direct sunlight, heaters, furnaces and electrical points where an accidental spark could ignite the container.

Follow All Rules and Regulations

  • When deciding to store gasoline at home, be sure to check with local authorities to identify your area's rules on gasoline storage. Permissible volumes for personal storage might vary depending on where you live, but a small amount to operate lawn mowers or other small engines is usually OK.

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