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How fire safe is your yard and garden area

  1. Keep the shed securely locked.
  2. Make sure it has adequate ventilation
  3. Properly dispose of of flammable rubbish, such as oily rags, and open or used containers of oil or solvents.
  4. Store petroleum fuels and nitrogen fertilisers well apart. If combined, they can become an explosive mixture.
  5. Never store chemicals, such as chlorine, where they can come into contact with other chemicals.
  6. Store chemicals in their original containers with their labels intact for proper safety information.
  7. Do not use naked lights or smoke in the garage or workshop.
  8. Always clean up shavings after woodwork.
  9. Use properly installed electrical sockets for power tools. Avoid makeshift wiring extensions and double adaptors.
  10. Where possible choose non-flammable paints, strippers, cleaners etc.
  11. Where electric welders are used, ensure the working area is kept clear of flammable materials, and the equipment is switched off and left safe after use.

Flammable liquids

  1. Store flammable liquids such as petrol, kerosene, methylated spirits, paints and solvents well away from heat sources.
  2. Petrol, kerosene and other flammable liquids must be kept in approved containers and clearly labelled.
  3. Fuel lawnmowers and other motors outdoors only.

Pool chemicals

The chemicals used for chlorinating swimming pools are usually oxidising agents that may react with other common garden shed materials and cause fire. Granular pool ‘chlorine’ (calcium hypochlorite) may start a fire if it comes into contact with fuels, oils, brake fluid or detergent. It reacts with acids to release the toxic gas chlorine, so it must be stored separately from pool acid (hydrochloric acid).

  1. Store granular pool chlorine separately from pool acid.

Liquid pool chlorine (sodium hypochlorite solution) is a corrosive liquid. It also reacts with acid to release chlorine and must be stored separately from pool acid. The different types of pool chemicals – granular pool ‘chlorine’, liquid pool ‘chlorine’ and pool chlorine tablets – should not be mixed or used together. Some combinations are incompatible and may cause fires or explosions.

  1. Store liquid pool chlorine separately from pool acid.
  2. Do not mix different types of pool chemicals. Some combinations are incompatible and may cause fires or explosions.

Garden chemicals and pesticides

  1. Store chemicals and pesticides in a secure place out of reach of children and pets.
  2. Store chemicals in original containers with intact labels for proper safety information.
  3. If the products need to be diluted before use, make up enough for the day’s activities only. Dispose or store excess in a properly labelled container.

Some garden chemicals may be flammable or reactive – ensure that incompatible materials are not stored together.

  1. Never use food and drink containers to store garden chemicals or pesticides.

Oily rags

Rags that have been used with drying oils, such as linseed oil, or oil-based paints may self-heat and spontaneously ignite if they are not properly dealt with after use.

Mineral oils, like methylated spirits, mineral turpentine or lubricating oil, are not prone to self-heating and will not ignite spontaneously.

  1. Rags used with oil-based paints or glazes, linseed oil or other drying oils should either be immersed in water or spread out in a safe place to dry immediately after use.
  2. If you must transport oil or paint-soaked rags, carry them in sealed metal containers.


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