These are really hard times for everyone as Covid-19 continues to plague our world. As cases of the virus keep turning up, more states in the country are beginning to place restrictions on movement within their boundaries. At the moment, virtually every state, if not all, have closed their borders completely for about 14 days and most definitely this lockdown period looks good to be extended beyond the initial 14 days. States like Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Abuja and Ogun have been placed on complete lockdown to human and vehicular movement.
Restrictions like this come with numerous challenges which means drastic decisions must be taken. Understandably, people are then forced into panic buying and stockpiling basic supplies like food as well as petrol. I'm certain you won't ask why people have to stockpile petrol when they don't have to drive their cars.
The epileptic electricity supply across the country seems to have taken a more shameful dimension with some areas getting only about 3-4 hours of electric power in a day. So, everyone will have to run their generators to at least make some meaning of the 14 days stay at home period. However, before you panic buy and stockpile fuel, please consider these important points.
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1. What volume of fuel are you allowed to store at home?
Please carefully consider if there are specific government restrictions on the volume of fuel individuals are permitted to keep at home. Some countries have put the maximum permitted stockpile volume at 30 liters, so please check with relevant authorities for the volume individuals are allowed to keep in their homes within Nigeria. Some states might have their own state-regulated figure. Please make sure to confirm this. It is very important that we follow these laws so that we help in maintaining law and order.
2. Where can you store fuel?
Fuel, in this case, petrol is highly flammable. So, keeping fuel at home is, without a doubt, risky. This brings up the question: where can you store fuel without it posing a danger of fire risk? Generally, it is always advised that you don't keep this flammable liquid at home, but situations like this one require that most of us who own generators keep a good quantity of fuel at our homes.
The standard practice of storing fuel is that it be kept in a place detached away from the home. In essence, if you must keep fuel or petrol at home then it must be kept in a separate place possibly outside your house.
Metal containers are more reliable compared to those of plastic material
Some persons usually erect small structures as a store to house their fuel a good distance away from their homes. But some persons who are constrained by resources have no other option but to keep the fuel in their homes. If this is the case, please make sure you keep them in a well-ventilated place, away from the kitchen and living area where there are possibly electrical outlets that could emit sparks. Possibly put them in a garage that has windows and doors
- Keeping it in a ventilated place is to help keep the temperature around the liquid below petrol's self-ignition temperature, to avoid unexpected combustion.
- Keeping it away from the kitchen and living room is to help reduce the risk of the fuel vapor coming in contact with direct flame from either your stoves or candlelight.
Make sure all Plastic containers are airtight and leakage-free
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3. What containers can you store your fuel in?
It is recommended that petrol be stored in suitable plastic containers with adequate properties and thickness to hold this liquid. You can also store petrol in metal containers and tanks. Please make sure the plastic containers and metal tanks are airtight and free of leakages especially if they are stored in the garage within your homes. This is because leaking fuel vapors are just sufficient to cause an explosion. This happens when the vapor has filled up the room and an open flame or enough heat is introduced.
I know most of us have plastic containers we use for storing fuel that points of leakages, so please its best you discard this leaking plastic container for your own safety. Very importantly too, please it is advised that you do not fill the containers to the brim with fuel, this is because fuel usually expands and fills the containers. Therefore filling the container to 85% capacity is what we recommend.
This video below will teach you how to store fuel:
5 Steps for Storing petrol for the Long term
4. Safety tips for storing petrol
To help everyone stay safe and alive past these trying times, we will give a few safety tips that are absolutely essential especially as most of us keep petrol at home. Please make sure to carefully follow these tips for your own safety and that of others living around.
- Make sure you store your petrol in a place with adequate space and enough ventilation, to avoid the dangers we mentioned in step 2 above..
- Please make sure you store petrol in a place that is free of naked flame like that from cooking stoves and candles. Also try to keep the fuel containers away from faulty electrical connections and sockets, to limit the risk of fire from electric sparks.
- Please do not smoke where you store your fuels. Statistics from across the globe has shown that cigarette butts have caused far too much fire than expected. So please, if you feel like smoking, we advise that you avoid the garage or areas where fuel is kept. Rather go outside and make sure you completely extinguish the cigarette butts when you are done smoking.
- Please do not store fuel in containers that cannot withstand the expansion of fuel or are chemically unstable when they come in contact with fuel.
- Make sure the containers are airtight and completely free of leakages.
- Please make sure you only fill the containers up to 85% capacity, to allow for the expansion of petrol.
- When you want to fill-up the generator tank, please make sure you do not perform this operation in-doors. It is advised that you take your generator outside, before refilling with petrol, to avoid fire or even an explosion.
- Please DO NOT refill your generator while it is still hot, the heat coming from the hot metal components is just enough to ignite the petrol vapor or petrol drops that fall on them.
- Please make sure you carefully dispose of the clothes you use in drying spilled fuel, as they can easily be inflamed when exposed to naked flame.
If possible store your fuel in this external metal tanks like this kept in a shade
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We wish that we all get through this together and see ourselves on the other side after this plague is defeated. However, we wish to advise that we all follow the Nigeria Center for Disease Control directives on how best to protect ourselves against this Corona Virus (Convid-19). Make sure you observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly with soap and running water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if water is not available and disinfect surfaces regularly. Ultimately, obey state-imposed restrictions on Lock Down and STAY AT HOME. STAY SAFE!!!
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