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Propane Safety During Tornado Season

Tornado propane safety iowa

June is among the peak months for tornadoes in Iowa, with May being the other. However, tornadoes can occur at any time or day of the year.

Weather data shows that on average, our state experiences 48 tornadoes per year. The most common time of day for tornadoes to occur is between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Where do I go during a tornado?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an underground area, such as a basement or storm cellar, provides the best protection from a tornado.

If an underground shelter is unavailable, however, consider these options:

After the storm passes

Propane gas leaks: know how to detect them

Make sure everyone in your family knows the distinctive rotten-egg smell of propane, and what to do if they detect it. Knowing that smell can help you identify a potentially dangerous leak that could worsen if your propane tank is damaged during a storm.

We also urge you to install propane detectors in your home, which can detect a propane leak even in the absence of its telltale odor. Here’s what to do if you smell gas.

Do you have an emergency plan?

Make sure all adults living in the house know how to shut the gas main off at your propane tank, and do this if you choose to evacuate your home. This will prevent damaged tanks from creating dangerous leaks that could ignite in your absence.

Propane cylinder safety in the aftermath of the storm

This is also a timely opportunity to share recommended practices for the safe handling of propane cylinders that have been potentially damaged. Natural disasters such as tornadoes can result in the exposure of cylinders to a variety of hazardous conditions, including impact from flying debris and damage from falls.

Obviously, any damage can affect their integrity and safe operation of cylinders and related equipment. Keep in mind that the cylinder contents are stored under pressure, which can cause the contents to leak if the container or related equipment is damaged.

Cylinders that are damaged or leaking can pose serious hazards and must be addressed only by trained emergency responders with HAZMAT training or the cylinder supplier. You should never attempt to vent or even handle cylinders that you suspect have been damaged.

Contact information for the cylinder supplier is listed on the cylinder label. If a label is not present, the cylinder neck ring can be used to identify the cylinder supplier.

Read more propane safety tips.


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