Hand sanitiser does NOT pose a fire risk when left in hot cars, fire chiefs confirm

Fire experts have spoken out to debunk the myth that hand sanitiser could pose a fire risk if left in a hot car, after it was widely reported that it posed a fire risk earlier this week.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 7:17 am
Updated Friday, 26th June 2020, 7:18 am

In a bid to reassure people and encourage the continued use of hand sanitiser during the coronavirus pandemic, the National Fire Chiefs Council has refuted these reports and confirmed there have been no cases of such fires in the UK.

NHS Property Services issued a warning about what it considered to be the dangers of keeping sanitisers in vehicles to its front line staff. The NHS has now retracted this warning following the fire brigade’s statements and evidence.

Roy Wilsher, NFCC Chair said: "We want to reassure people that this product will not combust if left in a car - even on the hottest day. For hand sanitiser to cause a fire it would need to come into contact with a spark.

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Hand sanitise does not pose a fire risk if left in cars, fire chiefs have confirmed. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

"Hand sanitiser is very important in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, therefore it is is essential we debunk this myth. We advise people to ensure they store their hand sanitisers in vehicles safely, which includes keeping bottles closed and out of direct sunlight, such as in the glove box.

“This will ensure the contents do not deteriorate and means bottles cannot be magnified by the sun. Sanitiser should also be kept away from naked flame."

The fears over hand sanitiser posing a fire risk were sparked by media reports in the USA, which prompted NHS Property Services to issue their warning and send out an internal message to front line staff.

When they retracted this message, NHS Property Services stated: "This decision to raise awareness across colleagues was made in good faith.

“It is now our understanding that the risks associated with hand sanitisers in vehicles only become apparent when in contact with a spark. We will be issuing a formal alert to our front line teams to clarify this situation.”