Union says public does not understand dangers of handling petrol


The FBU has called for the government to make an urgent public safety announcement highlighting the dangers of petrol in the home.

The call echoes the safety concerns of North Yorkshire fire and rescue service after a woman was badly burned in her kitchen when handling petrol.

The incident highlights fire service concerns that the serious dangers of having petrol in the home are not widely understood. The union makes clear it does not know if this incident is connected in any way to advice given by Cabinet Minister Francis Maude or concerns about fuel shortages.

Earlier this week the union asked for proper professionally-based advice to be issued by government warning the public of the dangers of petrol handling and storage. The union’s concerns have always been about public safety, we have made no political comment at all.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “We do not know the details of this tragic incident which will be of concern to everyone in the fire service. Any firefighter hearing what happened will be deeply concerned for the woman involved and her family.

“What this incident shows are the dangers of handling petrol, especially in the home. Petrol is highly flammable, highly explosive, easily ignited and toxic and that message needs to be sent out loud and clear.

“The public do not understand the extreme dangers posed by petrol handling or storage and they must be advised as a matter of urgency. It is particularly critical at this time when we are entering a period when kids are off school.

“Government needs to issue urgent professionally-based advice to warn the public before we have another incident, perhaps with far worse consequences. It is important we’re taking every step to ensure there are no other incidents of this kind.”

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