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Safety & Weather: Thunderstorms

This article will provide information you need to know about propane safety and how to keep your family safe during and after  thunderstorms. By taking a few simple propane-related safety precautions and discussing them with your family, you can reduce the potential for property loss, personal injury, and even death. View the full brochure online.

Before: Be Prepared
• Know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane supply and indoor propane appliances. For more information, contact your propane retailer.

• 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 weather hazards such as thunderstorms 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 Thunderstorm Approaches
Although thunderstorms are a common occurrence, it is important to prepare for and recognize their potential danger. Listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations, for instructions on the appropriate course of action to take. If a thunderstorm approaches, the following steps are recommended:

• If you are outside and can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

• Metal objects such as propane tanks and equipment, tractors, and telephone lines can conduct electricity. Do not go near them.

• If you are caught outside and cannot get to a safe dwelling, find a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects. Make sure the place you choose is not subject to flooding.


After a thunderstorm, use caution in the area surrounding 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 hail can move, shift, or damage gas lines and tanks. Immediately call your local utility company or propane retailer if any of these hazards exist.

Follow these general safety rules

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

• NEVER use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas. This can 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.


• 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 your system has been inspected by a qualified service technician.

Check out the rest of our safety & weather brochures at our website.

Related Articles:

Safety & Weather: Hurricanes

Surviving a Heat Wave: Safety Tips from AmeriGas

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

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