For some reason people think that propane tanks regularly explode. This is far from the truth. Not only does it take exceptional circumstances for propane tanks to explode but propane gas is generally very safe is stored and handled properly, i.e., according to pertinent regulations and by qualified professionals.
Nevertheless, propane is considered a hazardous material by federal authorities and is highly flammable. If ignited, a propane leak will turn into a fire very quickly and can cause injury and death. Similarly, malfunctioning propane appliances can lead to the presence of carbon monoxide in a room and cause carbon monoxide intoxication, which can be life-threatening.
This section aims to answer questions you may have on propane safety issues when using propane.
Compliance and training
It is paramount to ensure the propane company you select complies with all safety regulations and guidelines and trains its staff adequately. Compliance tends to be verified by local authorities since the safety aspects of the propane industry are highly regulated. However, when asking for quotes from different propane companies, enquire as to what training programs they have for their staff. Some companies charge a hazardous material and compliance fee, which can be a useful guarantee.
Information on how to react if you smell gas
Just as important is good consumer information. You should only select a propane company that tells you what to do in emergency circumstances explicitly so there is no doubt in your mind. If you do smell a gas leak:
- GET OUT of the house or building as quickly as possible and ensure everybody else does the same.
- CLOSE the tank shut-off valve to stop propane supply into your system.
- PUT OUT flames or sparks you have identified.
- DO NOT light candles, turn lights on or off, use a mobile phone, use electrical equipment, ring a bell, use an elevator, or adjust appliances.
- CALL your propane company as soon as it is safe to do so.
Regular system inspections
Propane safety is best ensured by regular system inspections (yearly) and good system maintenance. When comparing quotes from different companies it is recommended that you see whether they offer a GAS check (program by the National Propane Gas Association and the Propane Education & Research Council) and maintenance services.