MPFD issues natural gas, propane gas safety tips

  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Mount Pleasant Fire Department has released natural gas and propane safety information for residents utilizing these resources. Although the natural gas delivery system is extremely safe, it is not infallible. Leaks do occur on occasion, but they usually can be detected by smell, by sight or by sound. With the grilling season fast approaching, it becomes important to brush up on propane safety tips.

“If you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1 from a safe location. Do not try to locate the source of the leak,” said Mount Pleasant Fire Chief Herb Williams. “Do not do anything that could cause a spark and ignite the gas – this includes using electrical devices (light switches, telephone or garage door openers), using an open flame, matches or lighter, or starting a vehicle parked in the area. Do not try to shut off the natural gas valve and do not re-enter the building or area.”

Natural gas

Signs of a natural gas leak include:

1. “Rotten egg” smell

2. Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area

3. Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground

4. Bubbling in wet or flooded areas

5. Blowing or hissing sound

6. Flames, if a leak has ignited

7. Remember that gas in transmission pipelines does not have an odorant added, so signs of a pipeline leak may include all of the above except the rotten egg odor.

Propane gas

Liquid petroleum (LP) gas or propane, used in gas grills, is highly flammable. U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 1,170 home structure fires involving LP-gas in 2003-2007. These fires resulted in 34 civilian deaths, 135 civilian injuries and $48 million in direct property damage. The leading culprits involved in propane home structure fires were grills, hibachis or barbecues.

Many of these fires and explosions occur when consumers first use a grill that has been left idle for a period of time or just after refilling and reattaching the grill's gas container. To reduce the risk of fire or explosion, consumers should routinely perform the following safety checks:

1. Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.

2. Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.

3. Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease. If you can't move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.

4. Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas.

5. Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer's instructions, if you smell gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed.

6. Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from a leaking grill.

7. Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.

8. Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.

9. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions that accompany the grill.

For more information, visit us online at www.tompsc.comwww.tompsc.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tompsc.

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