Propane is a very safe fuel. But as with any energy source, there are steps you should take to further ensure your safety:
If you detect a gas leak, immediately evacuate everyone from the house and call your local propane provider or the fire department from a neighbor's telephone.
Learn what propane smells like. Propane retailers have scratch-and-sniff pamphlets to help your family recognize its distinctive odor.
Know where gas lines are located, so you won't damage them when digging or working in the yard.
Change or clean furnace filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer.
Don't store cleaning fluids, oil-soaked rags, gasoline, or other flammable liquids near a gas-burning appliance where vapors could be ignited by the pilot light.
Storm Safety Tips
Before the storm or flood:
If you have to evacuate to higher ground, turn off the service valve on the propane portable cylinder or permanent tank and the shutoff valve on all propane appliances. (Be sure to check first with your propane supplier if you don't know where the shutoff valves are located.) The permanent tank's service valve should be left off until the system and appliances have been checked by a qualified service person.
To secure propane equipment, tanks and cylinders (including grill cylinders) during a severe flood or high-wind condition, tie them to strongly secured stationary objects. Grill cylinders should be taken outside and secured to a strong stationary object. Wire cable instead of rope is recommended.
After the storm or flood:
Your propane supplier should inspect propane-powered household appliances, farm equipment or vehicles with controls or regulators that have been underwater before being put back into service. Since water damage to propane equipment and appliances is not always readily apparent, NPGA highly recommends a complete inspection of the entire system before attempting to operate equipment.
The number one problem created by flooding is water damage of regulators and controls. Such damage can cause blockage, corrosion or other malfunction of the key safety devices that are built into the system. In addition, dirt or debris may have entered the regulator through the vent. While this is not an immediate threat, selected parts may need to be replaced to ensure the long-range safety of the equipment. Propane suppliers can also determine whether dents to the container or piping caused by flowing debris are serious enough to warrant equipment replacement.
If your propane equipment has been flooded, be sure to shut off the service valve at the propane tank if you didn't do so before evacuating the property. This can be done by turning the valve in a clockwise direction. Be sure to have the system and appliances checked prior to turning on the gas supply again.
In the rare cases when people smell gas upon returning to their home, business or farm, they should extinguish all smoking materials and open flames. Exit the building immediately. Do not touch electrical switches, light matches or use the phone. Turn off the gas valve on the outside tank, meter or service area. Telephone the fire department and/or your propane supplier from a neighbor's phone. Do not re-enter until the building has been inspected.
Safe Grilling Tips
Always follow grill manufacturer's instructions and keep written materials accessible.
When lighting a grill, make sure grill top is open.
Always use or store cylinders outdoors in an upright (vertical) position.
When the cylinder is refilled, have the supplier check for dents, damage, rust, or leaks.
Before connecting or lighting a propane gas grill, use a leak-detection solution to check connections for tightness. Do not use matches or lighters to check for leaks. Your propane gas supplier has leak-detection solutions and instructions.
After filling or exchanging, take the cylinder home immediately. Keep the vehicle ventilated and the cylinder valve closed and capped.
If there is an uncontrollable release of gas, call the fire department.
Do not allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill.
Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder.
When not in use, grill burner controls should be turned off and cylinder valve closed.
Do not use, store, or transport cylinders near high temperatures (this includes storing spare cylinders near the grill).
When a grill is not in use, cover disconnected hose-end fittings with small, plastic bags or protective caps to keep clean. Make sure that the propane cylinder shut off valve is turned off to the grill.
Industry Efforts to Safeguard Propane Use
GAS Check® (Gas Appliance System Check) is an award-winning preventive maintenance program developed by the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and funded by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) that trains technicians and educates homeowners on the safe handling of propane and the maintenance of propane appliances.
The Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) developed by NPGA and funded by PERC is a training program used extensively throughout the country by people involved in the handling of propane, equipment, and appliances.