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Hand Sanitisers - Fire Risk?

Last week I posted in good faith a poster on #handsanitisers #firerisk and whether hand sanitiser was combustible. I had received the poster from a reliable source within the health care community I belong to and it had an NHS logo. The article had been mentioned in several overseas news outlets and a brief mention on one of the Midlands news channels. Two members of one of the social media groups I belong to questioned the validity of the poster therefore I removed the post. After removing the post, I wrote to Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Communications team and asked them about the validity of the poster and whether hand sanitiser left in cars would become biodegradable. I would like to thank the WRFS Communications team for their reply posted below. I hope this clarifies things, regards Gaynor

"Please find some answers from our Fire Prevention Team below:
Outside of the UK there have been a couple of fires that have involved hand sanitisers - the initial reports originated in media articles in the USA.
Following these incidents, the NHS issued an internal message to front line staff highlighting what they believed to be a potential risk. This information you have been sent has now been retracted following further investigation, evidence, and advice. The possibility of alcohol-based hand sanitiser gels causing a fire in a vehicle is very low.
We can reassure people that these products will not combust if left in the car, even on the hottest day. We would advise people to ensure they store their hand sanitisers in vehicles safely, which includes keeping bottles closed and out of direct sun light, such as in a glove box or in the boot of a car. This will also ensure the contents do not deteriorate.
The poster is saying that "hand sanitisers left in a car in high temperature could become combustible". The risk associated with hand sanitisers being kept in vehicles can only become apparent when it is in contact with a spark or a flame, not through intense heat even on the hottest day. The advice is to keep hand sanitisers away from sparks/flames or anything that could act as a lighter to ignite it, because the alcohol content is flammable.
I hope this information helps."
 
WFRS Communications
Fire Service HQ
Warwick Street
Royal Leamington Spa
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service

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