COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Disaster victims who are temporarily living in travel trailers may be encountering propane fueled devices for the first time. For this reason, the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has put together some brief safety tips and informational points.
Safety is always of primary concern when dealing with compressed gas. However, when used according to safety guidelines, propane poses a very low threat because it is a nontoxic, nonpoisonous fuel.
Though flammable, propane has a narrow range of flammability when compared with other petroleum products.
Proper ventilation is one of the most important keys to safe propane use. For safety, propane is treated with a chemical to smell like sulfur (or "rotten eggs") so it can be detected in the event of a leak.
If you should smell escaping gas, open the window or door, go outside and shut off the gas at the propane tank.
If you are ever unsure what to do in the event of a gas leak, don't hesitate to contact your local fire department or the local propane dealer for help.
Here are some safe practices to keep in mind when utilizing propane appliances:
- Know where your shutoff valve is located and how to shut it off.
- Don't replace your propane tank with a larger unit, the supplied regulator is not compatible and may cause an explosion.
- Always be sure to have proper ventilation in your home.
- Never use grills or camp stoves indoors.
- Keep flammable and combustible materials away from open flames.
- Keep children and pets away from all heaters to avoid accidental burns.
- Don't assume that the smell of propane is because the tank is low.
- Never place your head near or directly over the valves on your storage tank.
For additional safety information, call the Missouri Propane Gas Association at 1-800-601-9332.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.