CHESHIRE firefighters are warning residents about the dangers of using petrol in the garden.

The warning follows three separate incidents where people have suffered flash burns while using petrol in their gardens.

In the most recent incident a man from Tarporley suffered serious burns after vapours given off by petrol that he had poured onto garden waste ignited.

As a result of the incident the man sustained second degree burns to his hand and lower arm.

Thankfully none of the victims sustained life threatening injuries.

Tony Dwyer, Group Manager at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said “Although we haven’t had the best summer so far, during the hot weather that we have seen we have had three separate incidents where people have sustained serious burns while using petrol in the garden environment.

“Many gardeners use petrol on a regular basis, whether it’s refilling petrol lawnmowers or chainsaws, but many people often forget how dangerous it can be.

“Petrol is a highly flammable liquid which can give off flammable vapour, even at very low temperatures.

“This means there is always a risk of fire or explosion if a source of ignition.

“It’s also important to note that flammable vapours may even be present in empty tanks and petrol cans. In addition, petrol vapour can be harmful if inhaled.”

There are a number of simple steps that you can take to help reduce the risk of fires and explosions, these include:

• Never use petrol to help ignite garden fires.

• Never smoke while refuelling

• Lawn mowers and garden tools should always be switched off when refuelling

• Always use the pouring spout and ensure they are inserted correctly.

• Never refuel near to fires or barbeques

• Avoid refuelling during hot weather – whenever possible fill appliances at the start of the day while the weather is cooler

• Always wear protective gloves when refuelling

• Never allow children to dispense fuel

• Ensure that your fuel is stored correctly.

• Only use approved jerry cans and petrol tanks.

• Always check carefully that there is no danger before you start the refilling

It is also important to remember that petrol should never be stored in your house.

The Health and Safety Executive says you can legally store up to a maximum of 30 litres of petrol which must be kept in a shed or garage located no more than six metres away from your home.