Metropolitan Fire Service provide top tips to prevent fire hazards in the shed

CAREFUL: Residents urged to take care while cleaning their properties this spring to prevent a potential fire. Photo: Shutterstock
CAREFUL: Residents urged to take care while cleaning their properties this spring to prevent a potential fire. Photo: Shutterstock

Spring's arrival has triggered the Metropolitan Fire Service's friendly public reminder to carefully clean up in sheds, plus in and around the home and on properties, to prevent any potential fire hazards.

The push is backed by statistics which reveal that each year the MFS and Country Fire Service attend about 50 shed fires across South Australia.

Data highlights that this year alone seven shed blazes have occurred in the state.

Prior to this, during 2019-2020 the state's emergency crews responded to 46 shed fires, from 2019-2018 a total of 54 sheds burned and 46 shed fires were responded to between 2017-2018.

MFS highlights the most common causes of these flare-ups are electrical-related.

MFS community engagement officer Angelo Mastripolito said overloaded power boards or electrical items left charging without supervision in sheds have the potential to start a fire.

"Firefighters sometimes respond to blazes in sheds that were not noticed by occupants until it is too late, resulting in irreparable damage and expensive cost," Mastripolito said.

"Electrical items should never be left charging unsupervised and the community should not plug multiple power boards into each other."

Firefighters sometimes respond to blazes in sheds that were not noticed by occupants until it is too late, resulting in irreparable damage and expensive cost.

MFS community engagement officer Angelo Mastripolito

The MFS further warns that products in sheds such as fuel for power tools, cleaning chemicals, aerosols or paints may be flammable and reactive.

"Many people overlook the safety of products or chemicals stored in their sheds for years. Spring is the time to check on those items and make sure they are still safe to use," Mastripolito said.

It is also recommended that chemicals or flammable liquids be stored in their original containers so labels and proper safety precautions are visible.

"Some containers degrade over time and their contents may seep through so it is important to not store reactive chemicals together and dispose of old containers properly."

More hazardous materials fire safety tips:

  • Do not refuel lawn mowers, heaters or other tools when in use or when the appliance is still hot.
  • Refuel or use hazardous chemicals in a well ventilated area to avoid the accumulation of volatile gases.
  • Use a directional funnel to prevent spills and clean up any spills immediately.
  • Do not use paint thinners, solvents, cleaning products or aerosols with flammable propellant gas in the vicinity of any open flames - e.g. lit candle, lit gas cooktop, gas pilot light.
  • All flammable liquids must be stored in suitable containers and labelled appropriately. Food and drink containers, or glass containers, must not be used for the storage of fuels.
  • If the product needs to be diluted before use, make up a sufficient supply for the day's activities. Any leftover material should be discarded appropriately unless it is to be kept in a properly-labelled container.
  • Rags that have been used to clean up oils or oil-based paints could potentially self-heat and spontaneously combust. They should be immersed in water or spread out in a safe place to dry immediately after use.

For further information, access the MFS Home Fire and Life Safety Fact Sheets on Hazardous Materials available at www.mfs.sa.gov.au.

This story Call to prevent shed fires this spring first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.