Propane Safety Videos

Winter Propane Safety Video:  https://www.facebook.com/PropaneCouncil/videos/1293631547409351/ (link is external)

Carbon Monoxide Safety Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch_bPdFVWeg (link is external)

Tank Installation Guidelines

Underground:  LINK

Aboveground:  LINK

What do I do if I smell propane?

  • NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  • LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  • 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).
  • REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s home or other nearby 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.
  • 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.
  • GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. 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.

Propane Gas Detectors

Under some circumstances, you may not smell a propane leak. Propane gas detectors sound an alarm if they sense propane in the air. They can provide an additional measure of security. You should consider the purchase of one or more detectors for your home.

GUIDELINES regarding propane gas detectors:

  • Buy only units that are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation and maintenance.
  • Never ignore the smell of propane, even if no detector is sounding an alarm.

Appliance Maintenance

LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS. Only a qualified service technician has the training to install, inspect, service, maintain, and repair your appliances. Have your appliances and propane system inspected just before the start of each heating season.

DO NOT TRY TO MODIFY OR REPAIR valves, regulators, connectors, controls, or other appliance and cylinder/tank parts. Doing so creates the risk of a gas leak that can result in property damage, serious injury, or death.

CO (Carbon Monoxide) And Your Safety

WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)? You can’t taste or smell CO, but it is a very dangerous gas. High levels of CO can come from appliances that are not operating correctly, or from a venting system or chimney that becomes blocked.

CO CAN BE DEADLY! High levels of CO can make you dizzy or sick. In extreme cases, CO can cause brain damage or death. Symptoms of CO poisoning include: head- ache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and nausea.

IF YOU SUSPECT CO IS PRESENT, ACT IMMEDIATELY!

  1. If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or your local fire department.
  2. If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
  3. If no one has symptoms, but you suspect that CO is present, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician to check CO levels and your propane equipment.

CO DETECTORS CAN IMPROVE SAFETY. For an extra measure of safety, consider installing a CO detector listed by UL on each level of your home.

TO HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF CO POISONING:

  • Have a qualified service technician check your propane appliances and venting systems annually, preferably before the heating season.
  • Install UL-listed CO detectors on every level of your home.
  • Never use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
  • Never use portable heaters indoors unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.
  • Never use a barbecue grill (propane or charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Regularly check your appliance exhaust vents for blockage.

Running Out Of Gas

DON’T RUN OUT OF GAS. SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARDS, INCLUDING FIRE OR EXPLOSION, CAN RESULT.

  • If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open, a leak could occur when the system is recharged with propane.
  • If your propane tank runs out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous.
  • A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. In many states, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must perform a leak check of your propane system before turning on the gas.

I need to dig near the propane tank, what do I do?

Call 811 for a locate. Locators will do their best to locate your propane lines, but if tracer wire wasn’t installed it might be hard to get an accurate mark.

Lighting Pilot Lights

IF A PILOT LIGHT REPEATEDLY GOES OUT or is very difficult to light, there may be a safety problem. DO NOT try to fix the problem yourself. It is strongly recommended that only a QUALIFIED SERVICE TECHNICIAN light any pilot light that has gone out.

YOU ARE TAKING THE RISK of starting a fire or an explosion if you light a pilot light yourself. Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings concerning the appliance before attempting to light the pilot.


Can I get my tank filled on the weekend?

OCEI will deliver to your home on the weekend, but we do charge an extra fee for these deliveries.

What does propane smell like?

Propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Some people may have difficulty smelling propane due to their age (older people may have a less sensitive sense of smell); a medical condition; or the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

ODOR LOSS. On rare occasions, propane can lose its odor. Several things can cause this including:

  • The presence of air, water, or rust
    in a propane tank or cylinder
  • The passage of leaking propane through
    the soil

Since there is a possibility of odor loss or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.

Propane Tanks and Fire Protection:

 The best way to prepare for a wildfire is in advance, meaning fire isn’t currently headed your way. It’s important to be aware of drought,
fire weather watches and fire warnings if your propane tank could potentially be affected. Keeping the area surrounding a  propane tank
clear of debris and anything flammable goes a long way in wildfire protection. Ensuring that the tank is up off the ground and properly
installed on blocks helps prevent direct flame impingement upon the propane tank itself. A good rule of thumb is to keep a 10′ radius around propane tanks clear of anything that may be used as fuel for a fire.  This includes long and uncut grass, leaves, trash, tires or anything combustible that could be consumed by fire. Additional steps that can be taken to prevent flame impingement on a propane tank include the following or a combination of:

  • Scalp (cut the grass/weeds closely) the area around a tank exposing bare ground
  • Use weed/grass killer around the tank after cutting vegetation to the surface
  • Spreading base material or gravel around the tank to prevent vegetation growth
  • Ensure that all propane tank distance requirements UndergroundAboveground  are satisfied
  • Cylinders should be stored in a manner similar to that of a large
    propane tank. They should sit on a level fireproof surface with the
    surrounding area clear of debris, tall grass or other combustible
    material. Because cylinders are portable, they can easily be moved to a
    new location in the event of a wildfire.

Propane Tanks and Flooding:

BEFORE: Be prepared for a flood

  • Have an adequate supply of propane in your tank. During and after a major flood, 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.
  • Know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane supply and indoor propane appliances. For more information, contact your propane retailer.
  • In flood zone areas, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that large aboveground and underground propane tanks be anchored securely to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Contact your propane retailer for more information.
  • MAKE SURE THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY KNOW WHAT PROPANE SMELLS LIKE.
    Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal.
  • NEVER store or place a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
  • It is recommended that you consider installing a carbon monoxide (CO) detector listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) on every level of your home. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation, location, and maintenance.
  • Propane gas detectors provide an additional measure of security. It is recommended that you consider installing one or more propane gas detectors listed by UL. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation, location, and maintenance.
  • Have a list of instructions on how to turn off electricity, propane, and water. Review suggested preparations for natural disasters
    such as floods with your propane retailer as well as other utility suppliers. Advise them of any special needs you may have.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it regularly with your family in order to keep them safe during a potential disaster.

DURING: What to do if a flood threatens your safety

In the event that a flood threatens your safety, you may have to decide whether or not it is necessary to evacuate your home or farm. In
some cases, it may not be safe for you to leave. Listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations, for instructions on the
appropriate course of action to take. If it is determined that you should stay, you may have to move to a higher level within your home.
Whether it is determined that you should stay or leave, you should shut off your gas.

Shut off the gas!

  1. 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).
  2. Turn off the gas supply valves located near individual indoor appliances. Consult your propane retailer to make sure you know
    where the actual valves are located and how to shut them off.

If your gas comes from a metered pipe system, consult your propane retailer on how to shut off the gas.

AFTER: What to do after a flood

Floods can damage your propane equipment. A large propane tank can become dislodged from its service line and float away, striking trees, vehicles, or other heavy objects along its path. Also, water and debris can find their way inside regulators and controls, causing potential safety issues. In addition, fallen trees and power lines can create extra safety concerns.

Use caution when returning to your home. If you have any doubts about your safety, leave the area immediately and have your property
inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before re-entering. Take the time to carefully evaluate the condition of
all the structures on your property. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles.

Look carefully around the entire area. Check for downed power lines; they can create major safety hazards. Floods can move, shift, or damage gas lines and tanks. 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.

Follow these general safety rules

Floods can cause power outages or other events requiring you to take additional safety measures. To help reduce the potential for injury or death, there are general safety rules that you should observe at all times:

  • NEVER use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas. This could result in CO poisoning or death. These include outdoor portable heaters, barbecue grills, and portable generators. Only use appliances indoors that are designed and approved for indoor use.
  • NEVER store or place a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
  • NEVER use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
  • DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TRY TO MODIFY OR REPAIR VALVES, REGULATORS, OR OTHER APPLIANCE PARTS.
  • NEVER turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water. This can result in
    electrocution.
  • DO inspect chimneys, flue pipes, and vent connectors for damage, blockage, or debris.
  • DO 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.

If you suspect any of your propane appliances, equipment, or vehicles have been under water or they have been damaged, or you have turned off your gas supply:

  • DO schedule a time for a qualified service technician to perform a complete inspection of your propane system. The technician can also perform a leak test on the system and re-light your pilot lights.
  • DO NOT use or operate appliances, equipment, or vehicles, or turn on the gas supply, until a qualified service technician has inspected your system.

The after hours emergency number is 509-996-2228.