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In our everyday lives we are dependent on fuel to maintain our comfortable lifestyles. During a disaster however, we are even more dependent on fuel to maintain our basic survival needs. Having an emergency supply of fuel can help create warmth in your home to assist in regulating your body temperature, assist in cooking food, and also helps in powering essential emergency tools such as generators, household appliances.
Storing fuel can also be very economical given the price increases we have seen in gasoline these days. Ensure that you have purchased proper fuel storage containers or tanks for safety. Further, investing in fuel stabilizers such as Sta-bil and Pri-G or Pri-D would be beneficial if you plan on longer-term fuel storage. Some preppers store the same fuel for all of their prep items and have purchased kits to convert their equipment to one specific fuel source. More information about these conversion kits can easily be searched for online.
However, storing fuel for short or long-term disasters is not without its own set of unique challenges. Storing fuel can create fire hazards if not stored properly, can be an OPSEC nightmare, and lets not forget that depending on where you live, storing large amounts of fuel can be illegal. Ensuring that you follow safety regulations for properly storing fuel, and knowing what the EPA and regulatory issues associated with storing fuel are will help you in your fuel storage preparedness. Contacting fuel dealers that are in your local area can also provide you with a host of useful information on this issue.
To ensure maximum safety, follow these guidelines when storing fuel:
- Use a proper fuel container to store fuel in.
- Keep fuel dry.
- For safety reasons store fuel in an isolated area. Do not store fuel near your home or near appliances such as water tanks.
- Do not store fuel near ammunition.
- Store fuel downwind from any homes or buildings.
- Store fuel in a cool, dark area away from any sunlight or high temperature fluctuations.
- Rotate your fuel supply regularly.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand in the area where the fuel is stored.
- Check the storage containers or tanks regularly to ensure that the fuel is safely stored away and that there are not any signs of leaking.
Knowing how much fuel to store is dependent largely on what you plan to use the fuel on during an emergency. If you wanted to only run a generator with gasoline to power your home and appliances during the day, plan on using 1-2 gallons of fuel per hour. In a 72-hour emergency where you are reliant on yourself to provide power, plan on needing at a minimum 48-gallons of fuel.
When making fuel storage preparations, think about what types of fuels your emergency equipment will need, and prepare accordingly. The six most popular fuel sources to store are listed below.
Firewood – This is the most basic of fuel sources, is inexpensive and depending on where you live, there could be a plentiful supply for use. Many preppers believe that firewood is one of the greatest self-sufficiency advantages of off the grid living. Ensure that your firewood is seasoned at least six months and is kept dry. Firewood is also the only fuel that has re-usable bi-products. Firewood can be make into charcoal, and it’s ashes used in the garden or compost pile.
Gasoline – Because of the oxygenate additives that are added to gasoline, it’s shelf life is greatly affected. The shelf life for gasoline is about 1 year if properly stored. If you plan on storing larger amounts of gasoline then it must be stored in pressurized tanks. This type of fuel will more than likely need a stabilizer such as Sta-bil (available at Wal-Mart) added to it to preserve the gasoline. This fuel can be even more diminished if gasoline is subjected to heat, and moisture. Most cities prohibit this type of fuel from being stored above ground, so check with a fuel dealer in your area. Additionally, there is strong evidence that these fuels pose dire health and environmental consequences, so please follow the safety suggestions provided above.