Firefighters urge drivers to be careful when handling petrol

Fire fighters from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging drivers to stay safe around petrol and flammable material as they look to refill their vehicle tanks.

Crews are reminding people to only use proper petrol cans to store such flammable material and to make sure that they are stored safely away from any possible heat source.

Petrol should not be stored in living accommodation such as kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms or under staircases.

Any storage area must be well-ventilated with access to the open air. Only up to 30 litres can be stored without the purchaser having to inform the Petroleum Enforcement Authority.

Mark Walchester, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s head of central prevent and protect unit, said: “Storing fuel at home is potentially very dangerous and poses a significant hazard.

“Petrol and other fuels give off highly-flammable vapours which are often difficult to detect.

“Anyone handling and storing fuels should take extreme care and be aware of the risks of inappropriate handling or storage of such materials.”

Fire fighters’ advice for being safe around fuel is:

  • Always store petrol safely, in proper containers, in a well-ventilated place, never under a stairway, in a passage or in domestic house. Ensure the storage is away from any source of ignition (eg - electrical equipment, heaters, etc.). Keep it away from other combustible material.
  • Ensure petrol is stored in approved plastic or metal containers that can typically be purchased from filling stations
  • Be aware that petrol is extremely corrosive and could wear away any unsuitable containers causing leaks
  • Always decant fuel in the open air
  • Do not smoke or have naked light near to fuel.

For more information on how to protect yourself when storing or handling fuel, visit the Health and Safety Executive’s website at:

Alternatively, contact Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service on Facebook, Twitter, or call 999 in an emergency.