How to safely store gasoline and LP cylinder tanks

It’s the time of year when the use of barbecue grills, lawnmowers, tractors, utility vehicles, generators, and recreational equipment is in full swing, and they all need a power source. Whether a homeowner or commercial business that stores flammable materials, make sure you follow these safety tips.

Home use
  • Store gas in approved containers only — usually less than 5 gallons.
  • Do not overfill — allow some room for expansion.
  • Keep container caps tight and keep out of direct sunlight.
  • Store at least 50 feet away from pilot lights and ignition sources.
  • Keep out of reach of children.
Commercial use
  • Whenever possible, fuel oil, including diesel fuel, should be stored outside of buildings. If buildings are used for storage, they should have cross-ventilation.
  • Above-ground tanks should be kept outside and at least 40 feet from buildings.
  • Gas storage tanks that are above ground should have “FLAMMABLE – KEEP FIRE AND FLAME AWAY” printed on the tank in red.
  • Vent pipes from underground storage tanks should be at least 12 feet above ground level.
  • Fill openings should be equipped with a cover, which can be locked.

Home use
  • Store LP gas cylinders upright and outside on a flat, level surface.
  • Keep any source of fire or ignition away from cylinders.
  • If an LP cylinder is connected to a grill, it must be kept outside in a well-ventilated space.
  • Never attach or disconnect an LP cylinder when a grill is in operation or is still hot.
  • When not in use, turn the LP cylinder valve to the OFF position (clockwise).
  • Replace or recycle corroded or rusty cylinders.

Commercial use
  • Locate cylinders so that safety-relief valves are at least three feet from any building.
  • Provide a concrete or other firm, nonflammable foundation for cylinders.
  • Provide a cover for regulating equipment to keep out rain or sleet.
  • Gas-supply lines should be protected from damage and corrosion.

Common sources of heat are flame, friction, electric sparks, spontaneous ignition, chemical reaction, static sparks, lightning, hot motors, or hot mufflers. Remember that a heat source does not have to be visible to ignite gasoline and other flammable vapors.