Propane Safety and Tornadoes (2018)
Tornadoes can occur during any season of the year. In some cases, they can occur with little or no warning, bringing with them winds that can exceed 250 miles per hour. Every year, there are approximately 70 fatalities and 1,500 injuries from tornadoes.
10 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Family Safe
If your home uses propane, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your family safe and avoid potential dangers.
1. Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with everyone in your family. Post a list with contact information for your propane retailer and emergency services (fire department, etc.) along with instructions for turning off propane, electricity, and water. If you do need to turn off your propane, contact a service technician to inspect your propane system prior to turning it back on.
2. Consider installing UL-listed propane gas detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors provide you with an additional measure of security. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation, location, and maintenance.
3. If severe weather is in your area, listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations, for instructions on the appropriate course of action to take. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can develop and move quickly. Have a battery-powered radio available in the event that the power goes out.
4. If a tornado is approaching, immediately take action. If you are inside your home or a building, go to the lowest level possible such as a basement or a storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level. If you are in a mobile home, trailer, or vehicle, get out immediately and seek shelter in a sturdy building or storm shelter.
5. After a tornado has struck, use extreme caution and take the time to carefully evaluate the condition of all the structures on your property. Check the entire area for downed power lines, damaged gas lines, or damage to your propane tank. If your propane tank becomes dislodged from its service line, it’s likely to be leaking gas out into the surrounding area. A spark from a fallen power line or other ignition source could pose a danger to anyone nearby. Also, debris and water can find their way inside regulators and controls, causing potential safety issues. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles. Immediately call your local utility company or propane retailer if any of these hazards exist. Do not attempt repairs yourself.
6. 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.
7. Never use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas, particularly during a power outage. 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.
8. 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. Do not ever turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water. This can result in electrocution.
9. Schedule a time for a qualified service technician to perform a complete inspection of your propane system if you suspect any of your propane appliances, equipment, or vehicles have been under water or 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.
10. Exercise sound judgment. As with any challenging situation, your composure during and after tornadoes and other severe weather events will ensure you don’t take unnecessary risks or pose any additional dangers to your family and home. Stay calm; use radios, television, and telephones to stay informed and connected. If any questions arise, contact your propane retailer or local fire department.
Taking these 10 simple steps can help promote safety all season long. With a little advance planning, you and your family can be prepared for severe weather events such as tornadoes.
For additional information on preparing for tornadoes, other natural disasters, and severe weather conditions, visit usepropane.com or contact your propane retailer.