1. ITV Report

Firefighters warn against storing petrol

Due to the perceived threat of likely petrol shortages, East Sussex Fire Authority would like to offer the following information and advice to anyone who is considering storing petrol for their own use.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Director of Protection and Prevention, Andy Reynolds, said: “At present there is no reason to believe that there will be any petrol shortage and our advice to members of the public is not to store any additional supplies. However, for those people that do, please remember that petrol is classed as HIGHLY FLAMMABLE and produces explosive vapour at room temperature. Treat it with care.”

The storage of petrol is highly regulated by law. This is because any leak of petrol can lead to an explosion or serious fire, particularly when a leak occurs within a building.

To avoid the primary causes of leaks, it is illegal for petrol stations to allow customers to fill any container which has not been designed and constructed for the purpose and which does not display the approved wording and warning symbols.

It is also an offence, this time by the customer, to put more petrol in the container than the capacity of the container printed on the label. This is not unnecessary interference by Parliament - a mistake as simple as filling the container to the brim can place that person and their family in deadly danger. An air gap is needed because petrol expands so much when it gets warm that it can easily rupture the container and cause a fire or explosion.

The amount of petrol that can be stored in a car is also restricted. This is to limit the scale of any fire that could result from a road accident. The maximum amount of petrol allowed in a car is two metal containers of ten litres capacity or less plus two plastic containers of five litres capacity or less.

At home you can store up to thirty of petrol in two metal containers of ten litres capacity or less plus two plastic containers of five litres capacity or less. The store must be in a garage or other safe place. Because petrol is highly flammable, on no account must it be stored inside a house or flat.

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