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How To Move Dangerous Goods

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

26th Jan 2018 (Last updated on 5th May 2021) 8 minute read

There can be a lot to consider when getting ready for a move, but it’s important not to neglect any dangerous goods that need to be moved. Moving house can be overwhelming, but safety should be the number one priority when dealing with potentially harmful items. 

There are a number of things that could be classed as dangerous, items such as firearms, exotic pets or gas tanks are just a few examples. Removal companies will often have a list of items which they will not handle, many of which will include these dangerous objects. However, it’s possible to make special arrangements.

In this guide, Compare My Move have covered some of the considerations that should be made when moving dangerous items from house to house. When comparing removal companies, you should always discuss these items with the team before receiving your quote.

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This article will cover the following:
  1. Moving House with Exotic Pets
  2. Moving Unstable Structures
  3. Transporting Breakable Objects
  4. Moving Gas Tanks
  5. Transporting Chemicals
  6. Moving House With Firearms
  7. Handling Sharp Objects
  8. If In Doubt, Ask Your Removal Company
  9. Comparing Removal Companies

Moving House with Exotic Pets

It’s unlikely that your removal company would be able to move any beloved exotic animals. From lizards to birds, there’s a variety of specific needs required for transporting pets. Although it’s difficult to give specific advice for your personal pet, we’ve provided you with a few elements to think about to help minimise their stress:

Moving house with exotic pets

Ensure they are secure - You may want to buy a specialist travel container if you don’t already own one as this will provide peace of mind that your pet is safe. Make sure that the container is secured within the vehicle so that it doesn’t move around and cause the animal unnecessary stress.

Ensure they are comfortable - This, again, can be down to the container you use to transport them, but also down to what you put in the container with them. For example, you could include their favourite toy or a piece of clothing of yours so that there’s a familiar smell. If your pet loves a certain climate, it’s important to devise a way to emulate the correct temperature in their container for added comfort.

Consider your route - The route you take can make a huge difference to your pet’s comfort. It’s preferable to take the shortest route to limit the time they spend in transit. However, avoiding bumpy or unstable roads will also create a smoother journey.

If you're not comfortable with transporting your exotic pets, then there are a number of specialist services available around the country that may be able to assist you. Hiring a specialist is always recommended to ensure the complete safety of your animal.

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Moving Unstable Structures

Ever had a bookshelf, bed or chest of draws collapse on you unexpectedly? Sometimes it's unavoidable, but if you carefully secure these items, you can reduce any potential risks of this happening during transit.

Some large objects can be hazardous when unstable. This is especially true when it comes to removals and when large furniture is unfastened from the wall or moved onto unstable flooring. For this reason, it’s important to take precautions when moving these items on your moving day

Dismantling large and heavy objects will limit any chance of potential damage, as well as make it easier for them to be carried in and out of the building. Many removal firms will offer the dismantling and reassembling of furniture as an additional service, ensuring a safe and professional process. Simply ask them before receiving your quote so that there are no unexpected costs along the way.

Transporting Breakable Objects

Although many professional removal companies will usually be happy to move a variety of items for you, there’s still a level of danger in moving delicate things like vases, pictures and other items that can create small shards if broken. For this reason, it’s important to make sure they’re packaged well before transport.

Packing breakable objects

You may want to read our packing tips first, but wrapping these items in paper and securing them with a good quality adhesive tape is a good starting point. In the unfortunate event that they do break, any shrapnel will then be contained within the paper and will be safer to clear away.

Placing these items into a well-padded box will also help limit the possibility of damaging them, which of course is preferable. Using a specialist moving service such as white glove removals will also ensure your items are kept safe and limit any potential risks.

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Moving Gas Tanks

Gas is very dangerous and transporting it can be very risky when done incorrectly.

The main thing to ensure when moving gas tanks is that they and everything around them is completely secure. Gas tanks are more likely to be a danger if forcibly struck by another item or if they roll or fall onto another item at high speed. You secure the gas canisters by making they’re wedged in safely, perhaps in the foot well between your back and front seat.  

Alternatively, you could use strong chains or rope to fasten them into place during transit. Always ask your removal company if you’re unsure of any items and whether they’re secured.

Transporting Chemicals

There is every possibility that you have harsh chemicals stored away in your house, even if you don’t immediately realise it. In domestic environments, it’s likely that these are being used for cleaning purposes or even for a specialist hobby.

The majority of household chemicals can be moved safely and with ease. Make sure that their containers are tightly sealed during transit so that the lids can't fly off. It may also be worth putting them into a sturdy waterproof container to ensure they don’t damage your vehicle if they do somehow spill.

Handling dangerous chemicals

On the rare occasion that the chemicals are dangerous or even toxic, it’s recommended to seek specialist advice in how to move them to your new home. No matter what chemicals you move, make sure to label them accordingly and to label the boxes they’re in so that anyone who’s handling them can be wary.

Claire Watson, 28th January 2019
"Quick, efficient and friendly service. Everything was moved with care. Great value for money."

Moving House With Firearms

Of course, if you’re based in the UK, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any firearms that need to be moved. However, due to the popularity of sports like clay shooting and hunting, many houses may have some sort of firearms that need special attention before moving.

It’s very unlikely that your removal companies will be willing, able or insured to carry your firearms for you. Therefore, due to your legal responsibility for any guns you own, they will most likely have to travel in your vehicle with you. 

Although it may seem obvious, make sure to double check that your firearm is not loaded when packing. It will need to be covered in some way, either by being placed in a gun carry sleeve or by being wrapped up in something safe and substantial. This then protects your item from any potential knocks but also helps keep it as concealed as possible.

Make sure all ammunition is kept separate and in a different vehicle if possible. It’s also important to ensure that the item is kept in a secure part of the car, for example, a locked boot. This is especially vital if there’s any possibility that the gun could be left unattended for whatever reason.

Finally, make sure you are in accordance with any laws in line with your firearms licence. This will likely include updating the address at which the firearms are kept and an inspection of the new storage facilities.

Handling Sharp Objects

A more realistic possibility compared to firearms, you must also consider any sharp objects being moved on the day. Items such as kitchen knives are obviously dangerous and the appropriate steps must be taken to mitigate any risks. Removal companies are often willing to move these items, but they should still be handled carefully and labelled accordingly. 

Although rare, there are a number of people who either collect or train with weapons that can be of great concern when moving. These items could include anything from swords or weapons used for martial arts, recreation or decorative purposes. These are the items that many removal firms will not be able to handle. 

Handling sharp objects

When transporting sharp objects, it’s important to pack them well. This may include nullifying the pointed ends with something that can’t be pierced like a block of wood or hard plastic. Any sharp edges should also be covered, either by a specially made sheath or by wrapping the item multiple times in a strong material. If the items are particularly difficult to move or are of a specialist nature, it may even be wise to wear protective gear when handling them. 

If In Doubt, Ask Your Removal Company

In this guide, we’ve covered a number of different dangerous items that you may need to move. Whether this is an exotic animal, fire arms or gas canisters there are some generally accepted best practises in safely transporting these goods. If you’ve been the owner of these items for some time, you’ll already know how to transport them and the materials you need to use. 

In cases where you’re still not certain, we recommend that you seek professional help. A good quality removal company will always carry out a home removals survey to assess any special items you have. They can provide you with advice or even recommendations for further professional help.

Comparing Removal Companies

Now that you’re aware of some of the ways to tackle moving dangerous goods, it’s time to seek professional help and find the most appropriate removal company to lend a hand. Simply fill out Compare My Move’s quick form to get connected with up to 6 trustworthy removal companies in your local area. Don’t forget to highlight these potentially dangerous items and to ask for any advice on how to continue with the move.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Co-Founder and Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the co-founder and director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.