(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Later this month marks the year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. It was recorded as the most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season in United States history. Each year, hurricanes endanger the lives of thousands of people and cause extreme property damage. A hurricane can be accompanied by tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding, mudslides, and power outages. Hurricane season typically starts in June and lasts through November.
If your home uses propane, there are a 10 simple steps you can take to keep your family safe and avoid potential dangers:
1. In flood zone areas, make sure your large above-ground and underground propane tanks are anchored securely to avoid potentially dangerous situations. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that you do this. Contact your propane retailer for more information.
2. Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with everyone in your family. Post a list with contact information for your propane retailer and emergency services (fire department, etc.) along with instructions for turning off propane, electricity, and water. If you do need to turn off your propane, contact a service technician to inspect your propane system prior to turning it back on.
3. Have an adequate supply of propane in your tank. During and after a major hurricane, propane and other types of fuel may not be readily available and roads leading to your home or farm might not be accessible for delivery.
4. In the event that a hurricane threatens your safety, you should shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank, if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise). Also, it’s a good idea to turn off the gas supply valves located near individual indoor appliances. Listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations to determine if you need to evacuate your home or farm. If you do evacuate, use extreme caution when returning to your property. 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.
5. After the hurricane danger passes and it is safe to do so, check the entire area for downed power lines, damaged gas lines, or damage to your propane tank. High winds and floods can move, shift, or damage gas lines and tanks. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles. Immediately call your local utility company or propane retailer if any of these hazards exist. Do not attempt repairs yourself. If you find a propane tank on your property that is not yours, or if your propane tank has become dislodged or is missing, contact your propane retailer or your local fire department immediately.