I noticed on the news today that fire fighters in a small town in Washington State spent much of Wednesday night battling a serious fire at a self storage facility. I’d like to think that the danger of any serious fires spreading here in the UK has been diminished recently by the excessively heavy rain but fire is not a risk we often think about when using a self-storage facility. We tend to worry about general security – have the storage units got good, solid locks, does the site have controlled access, fencing, even security guards. We might also worry about damp or other damage if our storage container is housed outside but we rarely worry about fire. Of course, there are restrictions on what can be stored in a public storage unit – flammable products are not allowed but many of us are unaware of what products are actually flammable.

Many of the products we use for housework, gardening, home improvement or car maintenance are, in fact, flammable.  The average house is said to hold an estimated 3 – 10 gallons of hazardous products. So if someone is storing the whole contents of their home in one or more storage units do they even know if certain products are not allowed – how can the storage facility police the rules and restrictions?

Many self-storage facilities only state that flammable items may not be stored without giving advice on what items actually are flammable. For more detailed advice and recommendations take a look at the article “Identifying Products that cannot be stored in a self-storage unit” on the Storing.com website.

In the US at least 14 storage units inside one building were destroyed last night, which must be heart-breaking for those who might have lost something valuable or irreplaceable but thankfully there were no serious injuries to the fire fighters or anyone else nearby.

There’s currently no information on how the fire started but if you are thinking of using a storage unit then make sure you know whether any of the products you plan to store are flammable and dispose of them carefully instead of storing them. Maybe we should also check our homes, garages and sheds and dispose of any flammable products we find there that we no longer need.