Wildfire safety for your propane-powered home
As we have seen with frightening clarity in recent years, wildfires can pose a significant threat to people throughout California: once a wildfire starts, it can spread quickly, destroying homes and property, felling trees and power lines, and potentially even threatening our own safety.
If you own a home with appliances powered by propane gas, there are some specific things you need to know if you want to avoid danger and keep your family safe during a wildfire.
Here are 10 things to remember in preparation for or if faced with a wildfire in your Northern California home. For additional information, including an extensive resource list, see the Department of Homeland Security’s Wildfire page.
- Keep the area surrounding your propane tank free of flammable debris. Remove leaves, twigs and branches, rags, or anything else that can start or strengthen a fire. Keep propane cylinders at least 10 feet from any structure – never inside your home.
- Keep propane in your tank – Wildfires can close roads, so have enough propane on hand to power your equipment, including your propane backup generator.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan – Include contact information for your propane supplier and emergency services (fire department, etc.), plus instructions for turning off all major utilities in your house. For tips on writing an emergency plan, see this link from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DOHS).
- Prepare a family supply kit – Keep any medicines on-hand, along with water, canned food and a can opener, blankets, flashlights, batteries, and any other necessities. See this DOHS link for more info.
- Shut off the gas if it is safe to do so – If a wildfire threatens your safety, turn off the main gas supply by turning the valve on your propane tank to the right (clockwise).
- Listen to authorities – Evacuate your home or farm if you are told to do so; when you return to your property, use extreme caution to avoid problems with downed power lines, leaky propane tanks, etc. If you have any doubts about your safety, leave the area immediately and have your property inspected by a qualified technician or the fire department.
- Assess any damage – Once a wildfire has passed, assess the condition of your property. Use flashlights, NEVER candles. Look for damage to your gas lines and propane tank; if you spot any problems, contact us immediately.
- Never use outdoor appliances indoors – Outdoor propane appliances are not designed to properly ventilate harmful exhaust gases, including deadly, odorless carbon monoxide. Never use portable heaters, barbecue grills, or portable generators indoors.
- Call for a professional inspection – If you suspect any problems with your propane systems, contact a professional for a propane safety inspection. If you have turned off the supply of gas to your appliances, you MUST schedule a pressure test with a qualified technician to use any of your equipment after returning home.
- Be smart – Don’t take unnecessary risks! Stay calm, stay informed and connected. If you have any questions about propane safety during a wildfire, contact us today.
Keep your family safe during a wildfire with a little planning, a lot of good sense, and some help from the pros at Allied Propane. Contact us today to learn more.