Hurricanes cause countless property damage and endanger thousands of lives every year. Many times, it isn’t the hurricane itself that endangers people; it’s the accompanying flooding, mudslides, and power outages. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or flooding, it’s a good idea to prepare accordingly.
Hurricane season typically starts are the beginning of June, and lasts into November. To ensure the safety of your family and avoid potential dangers if your home uses propane, there are several steps you can take.
- If you’re in a flood zone, anchor your large above-ground and underground propane tanks securely. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires this, and you can contact your propane retailer for more information.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with everyone in your family. This should include a list with contact information for your propane retailer and emergency services such as the fire department, along with instructions for turning off propane, electricity, and water. In case you need to turn off your propane, it is advisable to contact a service technician to inspect your propane system before turning it back on.
- Ensure that you have an adequate supply of propane in your tank. During and after a severe weather event, 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.
- In case of an imminent threat, such as a hurricane, shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. It is also recommended to turn off the gas supply valves located near individual indoor appliances.
- Listen to your local authorities, television, radio stations and social media 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.
- 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. If any of these hazards exist, immediately call your local utility company or propane retailer. Never attempt repairs yourself.
- It is also important to never use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas, particularly during a power outage. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or death. Only use appliances indoors that are designed and approved for indoor use. Never store, place, or use a propane cylinder indoors or in enclosed areas such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
- Furthermore, inspect your propane appliances for water or other damage if it is safe to do so. Appliances with electric components that have been exposed to water can create a fire hazard. Do not turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water as it can result in electrocution.
- If you suspect that any of your propane-powered equipment or appliances have been damaged or submerged in water during the hurricane, it’s a good idea to schedule a qualified service technician to perform a complete inspection.
- Finally, exercise sound judgment during any severe weather event. Stay calm, use radios, television, social media and telephones to stay informed and connected. If any questions arise, contact your propane retailer or local fire department.