Fire damage restoration is often a complex project involving not only fire damage but also smoke damage, water damage, and mold growth. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading causes of house fires include unattended cooking fires, heating equipment, electrical and lighting issues, arson, and smoking materials. The water damage from the fire department’s efforts to extinguish the flames may end up being a major cleanup and restoration project. Smoke from a low-flame fire can contaminate the entire structure with soot, toxins, and odors. Since a fire produces a multi-faceted cleanup and damage restoration event, prevention, early detection, and rapid extinguishing are crucial.
Flammable Substances in the Typical Home
The typical home and garage have numerous household products that are highly combustible. Examples include:
- Aerosols such as hair spray, deodorant, disinfectant spray, starter fluid, insect spray, oven cleaner, etc.
- Rubbing alcohol and alcohol-based products such as hand sanitizer
- Common household products such as paint thinner, fingernail polish remover, furniture refinishing products, some car care products, lamp oil, paraffin, and kerosene
Gasoline is dangerous when used or stored improperly. Due to its highly flammable properties and its many uses around the home, gasoline deserves special attention.
Preventing Fire Damage Resulting From the Use of Gasoline
From cars to lawnmowers, gasoline powers everyday life. However, the improper use and storage of this valuable commodity can cause fire damage or injuries. The following tips can help keep the family and home safe around gasoline:
- Follow safe storage practices. Store gasoline in a container engineered and sold specifically for that purpose. Containers with a volume of less than five gallons are best since the smaller quantity is easier to carry safely. Do not fill containers completely; instead, allow some room for expansion. Ensure that the container is tightly sealed when storing and before pouring. Avoid spillage as much as possible.
- When filling vehicles and equipment with gas, make sure the area is outdoors and well-ventilated. Also, if the vehicle or equipment has recently been used, allow it to cool off before refilling it. Diesel produces fewer fumes and burns more slowly than gasoline, but homeowners should practice the same safety precautions with both substances.
- Place a container on a flat, level surface before filling the container or transferring gasoline from one container to another. Some gasoline pumps are positioned on a raised concrete island. Before filling the container, make sure it is stable and away from the edge of the island. The safest policy is to place the container beside the raised island where there is little or no possibility of tipping. Again, take great care not to spill any gasoline.
- Follow a spill cleanup drill. Give immediate attention to gasoline spills, whether large or small. Clean up the gasoline with paper towels, rags, sawdust, or granular absorbent products, and dispose of the soiled items in a safe and environmentally sound manner. Never flush any gasoline-soaked items down the toilet. The gasoline can disrupt the bacterial breakdown that is necessary for a septic tank to function properly. A sewage backup, as well as damage to the septic system, can be very costly to diagnose and repair.
In the event of a large spill, seek assistance from the local government, such as the fire department or hazardous waste disposal center, about the safest way to clean up a large gasoline spill.
- Never store gasoline in the home or in an attached garage. A lawn shed a safe distance from any structure or automobile is best. Store gasoline away from heat sources such as a space heater, a furnace, or an electrical generator. Any device with an electrical arc poses a potential fire hazard from gas fumes.
- Avoid dangerous explosions which can result from the misuse of gasoline. When used as a solvent or cleaner, gasoline can be deadly. Do not substitute gasoline for the appropriate fuel when using a kerosene heater, oil lamp, or camp stove. Never smoke when handling gasoline or any other flammable liquids.
- Keep gasoline out of reach of children. Storing gas under lock and key is recommended.
When misused or spilled, gasoline can erupt into flames instantaneously, engulfing whatever is nearby and causing serious bodily injury or catastrophic property damage. In the event of fire damage, reach out to the fire damage and smoke damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Media. They provide twenty-four-hour emergency service and a rapid response within an hour of the initial call. The highly trained restoration technicians are equipped to handle any size or type of disaster. Locally owned and operated, the SERVPRO team cares about the clients they serve.