The propane industry has developed numerous methods to ensure the safe transport and use of propane:
• Propane equipment and appliances are manufactured to rigorous safety standards.
• Propane has a narrow range of flammability when compared with other petroleum products. In order to ignite, the propane-air mix must contain from 2.2 to 9.6 percent propane vapor. If the mixture contains less than 2.2 percent gas, it is too lean to burn. If it contains more than 9.6 percent, it is too rich to burn.
• Propane won’t ignite when combined with air unless the source of ignition reaches at least 940 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, gasoline will ignite when the source of ignition reaches only 430 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
• If liquid propane leaks, it doesn’t puddle but instead vaporizes and dissipates into the air.
• Because it is released from a pressured container as a vapor, propane can’t be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels.
• Because propane is virtually odorless and colorless in its natural state, a commercial odorant is added so propane can be detected if it leaks from its container.
Upon propane gas installation or in the event of interrupted service, leak tests are required. As the NFPA, (National Fire Protection Association) states, "Immediately after the gas is turned on into a new system or into a system that has been initially restored after an interruption of services, the piping system shall be tested for leakage. If leakage is indicated, the gas supply shall be shut off until the necessary repairs have been made".
Propane users should be on alert if a smell is detected. The smell is the biggest indicator of a gas leak, as the odorant is added as an 'alarm' system. The odor of rotten eggs or boiled cabbage is the trademark of a gas leak. Notify your gas company immediately if this odor is detected.
When there are conditions that may inhibit the senses and the ability to detect the odorant, such as sinus problems or other physical conditions, the installation of a gas detector or a carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended.
In the event of a leak, please vacate the premises, call your local fire department and/or propane supplier. Do not re-enter the home until the gas problem is addressed and resolved.
If you suspect a propane leak, contact your propane supplier and make them aware of the situation ASAP. If you suspect a significant propane leak, leave the premises IMMEDIATELY (do not touch any light switches or other electric components) and cotact 911 and/or your propane supplier!