Home Hazardous Materials Safety

Household Hazardous Waste

Don't Just Throw That Away!

The Colorado Springs Fire Department wants you to know that practicing home hazardous materials safety is important in preventing home fires. Many people use chemicals in their homes safely every day, but as the number of chemical products increases, the risk for improper use and injury also increases.

When most of us think of "hazardous materials," we picture trucks full of chemicals, factories, or dumps oozing slime. However, every home can be a warehouse of hazardous materials, containing items such as automotive fluids, barbecue products, batteries, health and beauty products, home maintenance products, household cleaners, laundry products, lawn and garden products, medicines and medical supplies, and paints and thinners.

You need to follow disposal instructions on the product's label. Aerosol cans sometimes contain flammable or poisonous chemicals. If you dispose of them in the trash, they can be punctured and explode or start a fire.

In the event of a spill, thoroughly clean the area and place disposal containers in a well-ventilated area. If you cannot control the spill, or are in doubt about cleanup and disposal, call your local fire department. Pay special attention to chemical products when moving them from place to place. The same rules apply for proper transportation as they do for storage.

Action Steps You Can Take:

  • Buy only the amount of product that you need to reduce the quantity of hazardous materials in storage.
  • Familiarize yourself with each product, its location, and purpose.
  • Follow use and storage instructions on the product’s label. Mixing some products can create deadly poisonous fumes or cause fires.
  • Only fill portable gasoline containers outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Place them container on the ground to fill.
  • Never store flammables in direct sunlight or near an open flame or heat source.
  • Inspect storage areas regularly for leaky containers, poor ventilation, and the smell of fumes.
  • Store hazardous materials out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Store hazardous materials in their original containers. Changing containers is not only dangerous - it is illegal.
  • Use only portable storage containers listed by an independent testing laboratory for flammables and combustibles.
  • Store flammable products such as gasoline, kerosene, propane gas, and paint thinner away from the home.

*Source US Fire Administration & US EPA

You can download and print this Home Hazardous Materials Safety flyer.