Whether or not you are the next Heisenberg, your household likely contains dozens of highly combustible chemicals scattered in nearly every room. Most people are unaware of the chemicals in their home so they are equally unaware of how to safely use and store these chemicals.
When people think about fire safety in the home, they often think of the same few things- overcrowding electrical cords, kitchen safety, and the proper use of heating equipment. In short, people only think of items that directly produce heat.
But it’s equally important to be aware of ALL potentially flammable household items. This includes highly flammable chemicals that are used in almost every household.
These things include:
- Fuels used for lawnmowers and power tools
- Fuels used for heaters
- Paint thinners and solvents
- Cleaning products
- Pool chemicals
- Aerosols which use flammable propellant gas (cooking oil, hairspray, perfume)
- Acetone (nail polish remover) and
- Solvent based glues.
If not properly stored, chemicals may react with one another and spark a flame. If other chemicals are stored in that same area, a household fire can erupt within minutes.
Not only must these chemicals be stored correctly, but any rags used must also be safely disposed of. Rags used with volatile chemicals (petrol, turpentine, acetone etc) should be dried in a well ventilated area before disposal, while rags used with drying oils, such as linseed oil or oil-based paint, should be either immersed in water or spread out in a safe place to dry immediately after use. Failing to take these precautions may result in these rags spontaneously igniting after use.
Every household chemical has a specific list of storage and use safety requirements, most of which can be found on the bottle. It’s important to be aware of what chemicals are in your house and how they react with each other.
Stay fire safe!