Propane Safety Tips When Hurricanes Loom
Written on: September 18, 2023
Advice for Keeping Safe Before and After the Storm
Georgians are no strangers to the damaging effects of hurricanes. Our latest brush came with Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall in Florida on August 30 before moving north into our state.
Lowndes County, which is home to Valdosta, experienced the worst damage, with estimates of 80 homes destroyed and 835 more sustaining major damage due to winds that reached nearly 70 mph.
What’s more, Gov. Brian Kemp estimated that Idalia caused at least $41 million in damage to public infrastructure in Georgia. Read more about hurricane damage in Georgia.
Even though this storm has passed, we’re not out of the proverbial woods yet since the Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November 30. With that in mind, we wanted to share important safety reminders to help you stay prepared for any future storms.
Preparing for a Hurricane
Do the following if severe weather is forecast.
- Make sure you have enough propane—including for your generator–to last for at least a week after the storm ends in case there are road blockages or closures.
- Monitor local media and websites for instructions on the appropriate actions to take, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to flooding.
Steps to Take After the Storm
- Use a broom to clear debris from all vents, chimneys, and flues to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) gas backing up into your home.
- If indoor or outdoor propane equipment has been flooded, shut off the service valve at the propane tank. Propane-powered household appliances, farm equipment, or vehicles that have been underwater should be inspected by a qualified technician before being put back into service.
- Damage to propane regulators and controls is a significant problem resulting from flooding. We recommend a complete inspection of the entire system after heavy rains because water damage to propane equipment and appliances is not always readily apparent.
- If you shut down your propane gas supply, you are required to have a pressure test performed by a licensed propane contractor before you can use your propane equipment again. Safety codes mandate this procedure.
Other Propane Safety Reminders
- Make sure all adults in your household know how to shut off the flow of gas from your propane storage tank. This is a recommended step if you ever smell propane gas—but shut off the valve only if you feel it’s safe to do so. If you are not sure how to turn off the valve, please contact your local propane company.
- While propane is odorless, manufacturers incorporate an odor into it to alert homeowners in case of a gas leak. Some people have trouble smelling propane, so make plans to install one or more propane gas detectors. Read more about what to do if you smell gas.
- Never store portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
- Never use outdoor propane equipment (grills, portable generators, etc.) indoors. You should never use your kitchen stove for heat either. Carbon monoxide from these devices is a dangerous and potentially deadly hazard.
- Test and replace batteries, when necessary, in all carbon monoxide detectors in your home before winter, following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding maintenance. Know how to spot the symptoms of CO poisoning, and what to do if someone is experiencing them. Make sure your smoke detectors are operating properly also. Check the batteries in your propane gas detectors too!
Please keep in mind that propane is one of the safest fuels you can choose for your Georgia home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your gas appliances.
The best way to keep all your propane gas equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required and then get in touch with a propane professional if you require appliance service or have any questions.