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The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is urging the public not to panic buy or store fuel as areas of the country report shortages.

Storing fuel in a car, the workplace or at home can create a fire hazard due to its highly flammable and combustible nature. This can cause a serious risk of injury, loss of life and damage to not only people’s properties but to others in the vicinity.

As well as causing a fire risk, the vapour can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and exposure to high concentrations, particularly in confined spaces, can cause dizziness and unconsciousness.

The law also clearly states only 30 litres of petrol can be stored at home or at non workplace premises – without having to inform the local Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA).

Stockpiling could also put unnecessary pressure on fire and rescue services across the country if there is an increase in fuel related fires and incidents.

However, if people have brought additional fuel, NFCC states it must be stored in suitable portable or metal containers or a demountable fuel tank.

The legislation allows you to store petrol in the following containers:

  • Plastic containers storing up to 10 litres.
  • Metal containers storing up to 20 litres.
  • Demountable fuel tank up to 30 litres.

NFCC is also urging those who may have brought additional fuel to take extra precautions, including:

  • No smoking and no naked lights in the vicinity.
  • Decant fuel in the open air - not inside a garage or shed.
  • Use a pouring spout or funnel.
  • If clothing is splashed with fuel, change it immediately.
  • Fuel expands and vapour can build up in hot weather, so avoid filling to the brim.
  • Approved containers should not be overfilled and should be securely fastened during transit to prevent them falling over and leaking.
  • Spillages on the road surface, particularly of diesel, create slippery conditions that are a major hazard to other road users especially those on two wheels.

Find out more on our Fuel Storage page