Winter Storm Preparedness

This section provides basic information about propane safety and how to keep your family safe during and after a winter storm.
 

Important Things to Know Before a Winter Storm

 
Know what propane smells like. It has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal.
Know how and where to turn off the propane. This includes your outdoor tank and your appliances inside. For help, contact your propane provider.
 

If You Smell Gas, at Anytime, Inside or Outside Your Home:

 

1. NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.

2. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.

3. 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).

4. REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s home or other building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.

5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or a qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.

6. GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances,your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.

 

Important Things to Do Before a Winter Storm

 
  • Mark your propane tank location with a flag, pole or stake that is higher than the average snow cover depth for your area.
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of propane in your tank. In the event of a storm, roads leading to your home might not be accessible for delivery.
  • Make a list of instructions on how to turn off the electricity, propane and water.
  • Consider installing carbon monoxide and propane gas detectors.
 

Should You Stay or Go?

 
If a winter storm threatens your safety, you may have to decide whether or not to leave your home. Listen to a local television or radio station for information and instructions.

If you decide to stay:

Clear snow and ice from around your propane tank. If pipes freeze and crack, gas can leak out and create a potential danger.

Clear snow and ice away from all outdoor vents, chimneys and flues. Whenever possible, use a broom instead of a shovel so you won’t damage your propane system.

 

 

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

 
NEVER use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or death. These include barbecue grills and portable heaters.

NEVER use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.

NEVER store or place a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
 

After a Winter Storm is Over

 
Use caution when returning to your home or farm:

  • Check for downed trees or power lines that can create safety hazards. Report any problems immediately.
  • DO NOT enter any buidings on your property unless it is safe to do so. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles.
  • NEVER turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water. This can result in electrocution.


Extremely cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze or crack. High winds or falling ice can move, shift or damage gas lines, tanks and equipment.

  • Check your propane tank, appliances, chimneys, flue pipes, and vent connectors. If you see any damage or blockages, call your propane company.
  • DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TRY TO MODIFY OR PREPAIR VALVES, REGULATORS, OR OTHER APPLIANCE PARTS.
  • If you suspect any of your propane appliances, equipment or vehicles have been under water or damaged, or you have turned off your gas supply, DO NOT use until a service technician indicates it is safe.
 
 

Make Time for Safety

 
Thank you for making time for propane safety. To learn more, download our brochure 'Propane Safety for You and Your Family' or visit userpropane.com