Don’t leave hand sanitizers in your car - warns fire dept

Published May 25, 2020



A fire department in Wisconsin - United States of America, has warned people not to leave bottles of hand sanitizer in their vehicles as the high temperatures can cause them to have a chemical reaction.

In a post on social media site Facebook, the Western Lakes Fire District wrote that most hand sanitizers are alcohol-based, which makes them flammable. This post follows the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as most people have stocked up on hand sanitizers as per government's advice.

“Keeping it in your car during hot weather, exposing it to the sun causing magnification of light through the bottle, and particularly being next to open flame while smoking in vehicles or grilling while enjoying this weekend can lead to disaster,” the fire department stated.

David Richardson of the Midwest Fire Department explained how this combination of elements causes the combustion process to occur.

“The sunlight will come through when it’s filled with liquid, and act as a magnifying glass as you would with regular optics,” said Richardson.

“It uses the liquid and the clear material to develop a focused beam and sure enough, it can actually cause fire combustion,” he added.

During one of the experiments, the Midwest Fire Department found that sunlight magnified through a bottle of water reached 250 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius). That sunlight can focus on interior materials in the car, such as the seats or mats, setting them on fire, the department added.

As winter swiftly approaches, parts of South Africa may be experiencing a drop in weather, however, Durban still remains the warmest place to be. And with the frequent use of hand sanitizers as per government’s stipulations, this could pose a threat to workers on the road who spend a lot of time in their vehicles.

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