5 tips on safe propane use

Propane is a reliable combustible that can be very useful for daily needs, especially during the summer months. However, dangers of injury, carbon monoxide poisoning, fire and explosion are associated with its use. Here’s some advice from the La Capitale blog on how to prevent accidents and the home insurance claims that can ensue!

1. Reduce the risks through prudent use of propane

  • At the time of purchase, check to ensure that your propane appliances bear the seal of a competent agency, such as CGA, CSA, ULC, cOTL, WH, cETL, cUL or RBQ, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean and inspect your appliance at the start of each season. Make sure the tanks are secure. To check for leaks, spray the vents, hoses and tanks with soapy water, and then turn on the gas. If bubbles form, there’s a leak. Replace the defective parts, and ensure that there’s no more leakage before using it again.
  • Always use your propane appliances outside, where there is good air flow, and shut off the valve after each use. If the appliance is placed under an outside structure that’s equipped with panels, no more than two panels should be closed when the appliance is operating. This measure will ensure a sufficient supply of fresh air.
  • Make sure you always keep at least one metre (three feet) between your propane barbecue and any other object or structure.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near propane appliances.
  • If your propane appliance is in use, do not leave it unattended.
  • Have your tanks filled by certified professionals.

2. Follow mandatory safety rules when transporting your propane tanks

  • Secure them in an upright position in your car. Use a specially designed safety strap.
  • Have your vehicle well ventilated. If the tanks are being transported in the interior of the vehicle, leave a window open. If they are being transported in the trunk of a sedan-type vehicle, fold down the back seats and open a window, or leave the trunk a crack open.
  • Secure the valve, ensuring that it is tightly closed and using a plug.

3. Store the tanks safely

For maximum risk reduction, the tanks must be stored outside, in an area not accessible to children. Place the tanks upright, ensuring that they are protected from bumps, the sun and any source of heat.

Tanks that are defective or 10 years old or more must be returned to an appropriate disposal centre. Don’t throw them out in the trash or keep them at home. Even if they seem to be empty, they still pose an explosion risk.

 4. Be ready to react in the event of a leak

If you detect a rotten egg smell, that’s a sign that you have a propane leak. To reduce the risk of fire or explosion:

  • Evacuate the premises and get the air flowing.
  • Shut off the propane supply.
  • Have the appliance inspected by a professional before using it again.

 5. Know what to do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Incomplete propane combustion can produce an odorless and potentially lethal gas: carbon monoxide (CO). To prevent CO poisoning, it is very important to:

  • Ensure adequate airflow around any propane appliance that is in use.
  • Have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in any area that is heated with propane gas.
  • Know that a person with CO poisoning may exhibit the following symptoms: sudden fatigue, nausea, dizziness, itchy eyes and headache.
  • Be able to react quickly and do the right things in the event of CO poisoning or if the CO alarm is triggered:
    • Have everyone go outside, and leave the door open (for ventilation). Don’t allow anyone to go back inside until emergency services personnel has given the all-clear.
    • Dial 911. If someone presents symptoms of poisoning, call the Quebec poison control centre at 1 800 463-5060.
    • Refrain from using your propane appliances until they have been inspected and repaired by a professional.

Take advantage of the new partnership with La Capitale!

If you’re a DuProprio client, ask La Capitale General Insurance for a quote. You’ll receive an additional 5% discount and savings of up to $360 by bundling your home, auto and leisure vehicle insurance.

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