|Tips offered for propane safety|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
Floods can occur anywhere during any season of the year. Each year, floods cause billions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses. If a home or business uses propane to generate heat or run appliances, there are a few simple steps one can take to keep the family safe and avoid potential dangers.
—Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with everyone in the family. Post a list with contact information for a propane retailer and emergency services along with instructions for turning off propane, electricity and water.
—In flood zone areas, make sure large above-ground and underground propane tanks are anchored securely to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Contact a propane retailer for more information.
—In the event that a flood threatens safety, shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on the propane tank, if it is safe to do so. Also, turn off the gas supply valves located near individual indoor appliances. One may have to evacuate the property or move to a higher level within the home.
—After the flood danger passes and it is safe to do so, check the entire area for downed power lines, damaged gas lines or damage to the propane tank. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles. Immediately call the local utility company or propane retailer if any of these hazards exist. Do not attempt repairs. If one finds a propane tank on their property that is not theirs, or if a propane tank has become dislodged or is missing, contact the propane retailer or local fire department immediately.
—Never use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or death. These include such appliances as outdoor portable heaters, barbecue grills and portable generators. Only use appliances indoors that are designed and approved for indoor use. Never store, place or use a propane cylinder indoors or in enclosed areas such as a basement, garage, shed or tent.
—Inspect propane appliances for water or other damage, if it is safe to do so. If the appliances have electric components and have been exposed to water, they can create a fire hazard. Do not ever turn on a light switch, use any power source or inspect household appliances while standing in water.
—Have a qualified service technician perform a complete inspection of the propane system if one suspects any of the propane appliances, equipment or vehicles have been damaged, or one has turned off the gas supply. Never use or operate appliances, equipment or vehicles or turn on the gas supply until the system has been inspected by a qualified service technician. Do not attempt repairs.
—Take immediate action if one smells gas inside or outside of the home or business. Follow these simple instructions:
—No flames or sparks. Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate or turn on or off lights, appliances, telephones or cell phones.
—Leave the area immediately. Get everyone out of the building or area where gas is suspected of leaking.
—Shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on the propane tank, if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
—Report the leak. From a neighbor’s home or other building away from the gas leak, call a propane retailer right away. If one can’t be reached, call 911 or the local fire department.
—Do not return to the building or area until a propane retailer, emergency responder or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
—Get the system checked. Before attempting to use any propane appliances, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check the entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.
For additional information on preparing for floods, other natural disasters and severe weather conditions, visit usepropane.com or contact a propane retailer.
Holyoke Enterprise July 7, 2011