While the summer heat is dying down, for many parts of Australia there can still be the risk of fire. Dry grass and prolonged periods without rain can create hazardous conditions, and that is important to remember – especially if you live in a rural area. Fire prevention is a key element of regional living, and if you own or are considering a custom designed shed then that applies inside it as well!
So with this in mind, it is time to take a look at some ways you can be fire conscious when you have a shed or garage.
Mind the mower fuel
If you are considering or own a custom designed shed for farm use, then it is likely you will have lawn mowers, tractors and other fuel vehicles in storage. As well as that, if you are prepared like we hope you are, there will be reserve fuel on site. But make sure to store it safely! The Queensland Department of Education and Training notes that all lawn mower fuel must be kept in containers made of metal, or an approved type of plastic – no tupperware here!
Make sure fuel is stored 5 metres from other dangerous chemicals, and that it is clearly labelled. Also, of course, keep it clear of any possible ignition points. Each container should not have more than 30 litres in it, to a maximum of 250 litres on site. Of course, this may differ between states so make sure to do your homework!
The bigger they are, the safer they should be
The Ricegrowers Association of Australia offers some great guidelines for when your shed or barn contains, or is near, an above ground tank. These can contain large amounts of fuel or other hazardous chemicals, and should be kept at least 15 metres from other such materials and ignition points. If you are going to keep it outside, it is recommended to have it on the eastern side of a shed for maximum shade.
They should also be constructed to Australian Standard 1692 Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids to ensure safety. Also make sure they are clear of debris and well kept! There are different classes of dangerous goods so these exact guidelines will not be gospel, but it is important to be aware of the parameters.
There are many issues to be aware of when using an angle grinder, but specific to this topic is the placement of the tool, and the position of the guard, as highlighted by Worksafe Victoria. If you are using an angle grinder in a large barn or other similar space, make sure it is well removed from dangerous chemicals. Additionally, make sure the guard has not been modified or moved as this can cause sparks to fly back, causing injury and potential fire hazards.
Wearing fire-retardant garments while operating an angle grinder is also recommended!
Clear the area
This one also has the added benefit of being a great way of tidying up around your custom workshop or shed! The Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services recommends clearing away long grass, debris and scrub in a 20 metres radius around your property. Applying this to your shed could be a great way to keep it safe! Also check for gaps in your shed if it is older, as embers could fly through and become a hazard inside.
There are many more steps you can take for fire prevention in and around your custom designed shed, and this is just a few brief pointers on getting everything in place. Check local and state government resources for more and as always, get in touch with us for any of your shed needs.