NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below-normal, but that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy. “A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. Hurricanes can cause power outages, flooding, or other events requiring you to take additional safety measures.
If your home uses propane, here are some simple steps you can take to keep your family safe in the event of a hurricane.
Before a hurricane: Be Prepared
- Create and emergency preparedness plan and review it regularly with your family. Post a list with contact information for your propane retailer and emergency services (fire department etc.) Include instructions for shutting off propane, water, and electricity. If you need to turn off your propane, always contact a service technician to inspect your propane system prior to turning it back on.
- Have an adequate supply of propane in your tank. During and after a hurricane, propane and other types of fuel may not be readily available and roads leading to your home might not be accessible for delivery.
- In flood zone areas, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that large above-ground and underground propane tanks be anchored securely to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Contact your propane retailer for more information.
- Review this brochure for more information on what you should do before, during and after the hurricane.
During: When a storm approaches
- If a hurricane threatens your safety, you should shut off the gas. If it is safe to do so, turn off the main gas supply value on your propane tank. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise). 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.
- You may need to evacuate your home or farm. Always listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations, for on instructions of the appropriate course of action to take. Whether it is determined that you should stay or leave, you should shut off your gas.
- 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. Don’t store or place a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
After: Once the storm has passed
- Use caution when returning to your home or farm. 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. High winds and 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.
- It is important to schedule a time for a qualified service technician to perform a complete inspection of your propane system 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. 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 your system has been inspected by a qualified service technician.
- If any questions arise, contact your propane retailer or local fire department.
For more information on what to do to prepare for a hurricane, or other severe weather events, contact your local AmeriGas office. To view the complete list of hurricane safety tips visit www.propanesafetyfirst.com.
Promote safety all season long, follow these simple steps.