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Keeping Your Family Safe: Important Information About Propane Safety & Tornadoes

We have all been amazed at the devastation caused by recent catastrophic tornadoes in Missouri, Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The horrific images are a reminder that safety should always be on our minds. This blog will provide valuable information about propane safety and how to keep your family safe before, during and after a tornado. By taking a few simple propane-related safety precautions and discussing them with your family, you can be better prepared for these events.

Before: Be Prepared for a Tornado

  • Know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane supply and indoor propane appliances. For more information, contact your local AmeriGas office.
  • 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.
  • 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 Tornado Approaches
Tornadoes can destroy buildings, down trees and power lines, and dislodge propane tanks and equipment. It is essential for you to understand what to do during this type of disaster. Listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations, for instructions on the appropriate course of action to take. In the event that a tornado threatens your safety:

  • If you are inside 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 cover in a sturdy building or storm shelter.
  • If you are outside and shelter is not available, lie flat in a nearby ditch or flat location. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

After: What to do After a Tornado
After a tornado has struck, use extreme caution and take the time to carefully evaluate the condition of all the structures on your property. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles. 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.

Look carefully around the entire area. Check for downed power lines; they can create major safety hazards. High winds and hail can move, shift, or damage gas lines and tanks. If  your propane tank becomes dislodged from its service line or if you find debris and/or water inside regulators and controls, contact your local AmeriGas office immediately.

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 AmeriGas or your local fire department immediately.

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