Videos of people filling unapproved containers to the brim with petrol in Auckland over the weekend may put people and their environment at risk says the Environmental Protection Authority.
General Manager of EPA’s Hazardous Substances Group, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, says while stockpiling petrol at home may seem like a good way to save a few dollars, the average New Zealander may not fully appreciate the risks they’re introducing to their home and family.
“You can only legally store up to 50 litres of petrol at home in approved fit-for-purpose containers which are tested and certified to hold the petrol and make it hard for children to get into,” adds Dr Thomson-Carter.
“Petrol can easily catch fire or explode, leading to severe injuries, or worse. You can also get sick from breathing in petrol fumes.”
The EPA has this advice on its website for safe storage of petrol:
• only store petrol in approved petrol containers. Approved containers have undergone a range of tests to make sure they won’t leak or explode, and are hard for children to get into.
• keep petrol where children cannot get it. The best place is in a high, locked or child-safe cupboard, in a shed that is kept locked.
• make sure your petrol container has the correct lid and it is always tightly fastened.
• leave a gap at the top of petrol containers. When petrol gets warm some of the liquid will turn into vapour and this will make the container expand. If the container is too full it could burst.
• keep petrol in a safe, cool and shaded place. Never leave petrol containers in direct sunlight or in the boot of a car.
• keep petrol in a shed or garage. Never store fuel containers inside your home. Petrol is highly flammable so it’s safer to store it in a shed or garage that is not attached to your house.
• store only what you need. You need special permission from WorkSafe New Zealand to store more than 50 litres of petrol at home.
• never smoke near where petrol is stored.