Dublin Villager

Smoke signals

Propane economical, versatile fuel when used safely

Propane, also called LP gas, is a safe, economical, clean-burning and versatile fuel when properly used. Regardless of the type of energy you use, safety is extremely important.

An understanding of how your delivery system and appliances work and what to do in case of a leak or other safety-related emergency are extremely important when dealing with propane as with electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and gasoline.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 84 percent of liquefied petroleum (LP) gas fires in homes involve ignition by some form of equipment. The most common types involved were open-fired grills, hot water heaters and stoves because of part failures and leaks.

Follow these important safety tips when using propane at home:

* Handle any propane-powered equipment cautiously and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Cylinder tanks for equipment such as stoves and ovens must be located outside of the home.

* Never store or use propane gas cylinders larger than one pound inside the home.

Any gas leaking from a cylinder could build up and be ignited by a flame or spark, causing an explosion or a fire.

* Never operate a propane-powered gas grill inside the home or on a balcony or porch.

High levels of carbon monoxide gas can be generated causing serious illness or death.

* Have propane gas equipment inspected periodically by a professional for possible leaks or malfunctioning parts.

* Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions and warnings concerning lighting an appliance pilot.

* If you smell a strong odor of gas, leave the area immediately and call the fire department from outside the home.

To make propane easier to detect in the event of a leak, manufacturers deliberately add a chemical compound to give it the distinctive rotten egg smell.

* For more information visit, the Propane Education and Research Council Web site at www.propanecouncil.org.

Washington Township Fire Department Fire Marshal Alan Perkins submitted the Smoke Signals column.