Make summer go swimmingly

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Spending summer in the water is a popular Australian pastime, prompting the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) to urge the safe use and storage of household pool chemicals.


The chemicals are necessary when treating your pool, however if stored or used incorrectly can pose a large fire risk, or risk to your health through the release of toxic gas.


Pool chemicals such as chlorine have the potential to turn hazardous if they are wet by small quantities of water or if they are improperly mixed, such as with other chemicals or reactive materials.


MFS Commander, Community Safety and Resilience, Phil Crossley said pool chemicals are designed to be added to large quantities of water.


“If a small amount of water interacts with the chemical, such as rain or garden irrigation systems, it has the potential to react and release toxic gas.


“It’s imperative you keep pool chemicals dry by correctly closing lids and storing them away from windows and doors to avoid the potential for an unwanted reaction,” MFS Commander Crossley said.


Granular pool ‘chlorine’ (calcium hypochlorite) may start a fire if it comes into contact with other stored chemicals including:

  • Fuels (e.g. petrol)
  • Oils
  • Brake fluid or
  • Detergents.

It also reacts with acids to release the toxic gas chlorine, so must be stored separately from acids, such as pool acid (hydrochloric acid).


“It’s recommended that you store pool chemicals separately from one another and away from combustible or flammable materials. You should also use separate, designated tools for each chemical to avoid cross contamination,” MFS Commander Crossley explained.


“Ensure all chemicals are kept away from children and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.”


Liquid pool ‘chlorine’ (sodium hypochlorite solution) is a corrosive liquid. It also reacts with acids to release chlorine and must be stored separately from pool acid (hydrochloric acid). 


The different types of pool chemicals - granular pool ‘chlorine’, liquid pool ‘chlorine’ and pool chlorine tablets - should not be mixed or used together. Some combinations are incompatible and may cause dangerous reactions which could release toxic gas, fires or explosions.