Each year hurricanes and other storms endanger the lives of thousands of people and cause extreme property damage. If your home or business uses propane to generate heat or run appliances, here are a few simple steps you can take to keep your family safe and avoid potential hazards.
• Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with everyone who lives in your house.
• Post a list with contact information for your propane retailer and emergency services along with instructions for turning off propane, electricity, and water.
• In flood zone areas, make sure any large above-ground and underground propane tanks are anchored securely to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
• Have an adequate supply of propane in your tank. During and after a major storm, propane and other types of fuel may not be readily available and roads leading to your home or farm might not be accessible for delivery.
• Listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations to determine if you need to evacuate your home or farm. If you do evacuate, use extreme caution when returning to your property.
• In the event that a storm threatens your safety, you should shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank, if it is safe to do so. Also, turn off the gas supply valves located near individual indoor appliances.
• After the storm passes, check the entire area for downed power lines, damaged gas lines, or damage to your propane tank. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles. Immediately call your local utility company or propane retailer if any of these hazards exist. If you find a propane tank on your property that is not yours, or if your propane tank has become dislodged or is missing, contact your propane retailer or your 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.
• Never store, place, or use a propane cylinder indoors or in enclosed areas such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent. Inspect your 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. Never turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water.
• Have a qualified service technician perform a complete inspection of your propane system if you suspect any of your propane appliances, equipment, or vehicles have been damaged, or you have turned off your gas supply.
• Never use or operate appliances, equipment, or vehicles, or turn on the gas supply, until your system has been inspected by a qualified service technician. Do not attempt repairs yourself. Take immediate action if you smell gas inside or outside of your home or business.
Follow these simple instructions:
1. 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.
2. Get out now! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
3. Shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank, if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
4. Report the leak. From a neighbor's home or other building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can't reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
5. Do not return to the building or area until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.