In your home, right now, there are probably dozens of hazardous materials that could be very dangerous in case of a fire...or could cause a fire if they are used or stored improperly.
Protect yourself and your family by becoming familiar with hazardous materials around your home.
Hazardous Materials in
Probably the last place you'd think to look for hazardous materials is your bedroom. So let's start our tour there.
Our first discovery: hair spray. Like most aerosol sprays, this is highly flammable. When using any spray, make sure that no heat source or open flame is nearby.
Aerosol spray cans pose another danger - they can explode with great force if they get hot.
Nail polish is also highly flammable, as are many fluids that give off strong fumes. Nail polish and nail polish removers, (as well as tissues or cotton balls soaked with them) can burn easily if exposed to heat or a flame.
The fumes given off by mothballs are flammable. Containers of unused mothballs should be tightly sealed.
In the bathroom, you may find disinfectants, such as toilet bowl cleaners, that are surprisingly flammable. You may also have drain cleaning fluids or powders that are extremely caustic and can burn skin on contact. Carefully follow the instructions on the container.
In the kitchen are a number of cleaning products that should be used with care. Floor and furniture polishes, spot removers and oven cleaners all are flammable liquids that can burn if exposed to heat or flame.
If you are unsure whether a product is flammable, read the label. If the ingredients list includes petroleum products or methylated spirits, treat the products as flammable. And remember that any aerosol can might explode if exposed to heat!Flammable Gases
Check for flammable gases. A can of butane for refilling cigarette lighters, and all aerosol cans, should be kept in a cool place, away from heat that could cause the cylinder to explode. When filling a lighter, make sure there is no flame or heat source that could ignite leaking gas.
Of course, natural gas and propane piped into your home are extremely flammable and should always be used with care. If you suspect a leak, call the gas company immediately.
If you use propane cylinders for cooking you should be sure that they are always located outdoors. Plug cylinder outlets when they are not connected for use.In the Basement
Your basement, workshop or hobby area is likely to contain many flammable liquids like turpentine, mineral spirits and other solvents, oil-based paints, stains and varnishes, and charcoal-lighter fluid.
Your basement is also likely to contain a furnace and a hot water heater, sources of heat that could ignite vapours from flammable liquids.
It is best to store flammable liquids outside the home, in the garage or in a shed. Always store in approved, labelled safety cans with tight-fitting lids, not in open containers or in glass jars that easily break. Rags soaked in paints and thinners will burn if exposed to flame. Dispose of such rags after use; or keep them in tightly closed metal containers.Gasoline
Never store gasoline in your home! Treat it with great caution. Gasoline vapours can be ignited by a tiny spark. Store gasoline only in a container made for that purpose.
If you refuel a gasoline-powered machine, do it in the open, well away from buildings, and when the machine is completely cooled down. Refuelling hot machinery can produce explosive gasoline fumes.
Finally, never use gasoline to light a charcoal grill. Lethal explosions can result.
You may find yourself using various hazardous materials outdoors, from charcoal starter fluid to compressed propane for your gas grill.
When starting a charcoal fire, apply the starter fluid to the cold charcoal briquettes, then light them. NEVER add fluid to a lighted fire.
If you are using a gas grill, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Never leave a hot grill unattended.
There are a number of other materials you may use around your home that are flammable or otherwise hazardous. These include weed killers, pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers for your garden, and chemicals for swimming pools. Carefully read the instructions on these products, and use them with caution.
You may have flammable materials in your basement or garage. Exercise fire safety inside and out...
If you keep gasoline on hand, store it outside your home or in a detached garage. Keep only small quantities and use a laboratory approved gasoline safety can.
Always store paint and other flammable liquids in their original labelled containers with tight-fitting lids. Use and store flammable liquids well away from appliances, heaters, pilot lights, and cigarettes or other sources of heat. Have your furnace checked every year by a professional.
Remove trash from your home. Don't store anything near the furnace or heater.
Make sure your roof is non-combustible or fire-retardant. If the roofing is not slate or tile, it should be labelled "Class C."
Never use gasoline on a grill fire. Don't add charcoal lighter fluid once the fire has started. Instead, use dry kindling to revive the flame. Use grills only outside of homes and off porches, and away from combustibles. Before starting your lawnmower, snow blower, or motorcycle, move it away from gasoline fumes. Let the motor cool before you refuel.
Never store propane cylinders indoors.