Propane is a colourless gas with a faint odour at high concentrations. Fuel grades have a disagreeable odour to aid in the detection of leaks. Propane is an extremely flammable compressed gas, is heavier than air and may spread long distances so distant ignition and flashback are possible.
It is also a simple asphyxiant meaning the gas may reduce oxygen available for breathing. When there is rapid evaporation of liquid from the cylinder, the cylinder may become extremely cold and could cause frostbite if touched.
Safety tips - general
- All propane cylinders, full or empty, must be stored in an upright position.
- Never store propane cylinders inside a building. They should be stored outside in a shady protected area, a minimum of one metre from any combustible material.
- Propane cylinders must never be transported inside the passenger compartment of any vehicle. They should be transported in the trunk of a car or back of a truck in a secured, upright position. When secured in trunk, trunk lid should be slightly propped open.
- When transporting propane cylinders in an elevator, only the person transporting the cylinder should be in the elevator. Maximum size of the cylinder to be transported cannot exceed 20 pounds.
- Prior to use of the cylinder, check all exposed hose, piping and fittings for any physical damage.
- Use a mixture of liquid soap and water to ensure that all fittings and connections are tight. When the soap solution is applied and propane is turned on, look for bubbles in the area. If bubbles are seen, immediately shut off cylinder and re-tighten connections and fittings - apply more soap solution and test again.
- Never use a match or flame to check for leaks.
- Do not dispose propane cylinders into household garbage. Take your cylinder to one of the five designated fire stations for proper disposal.
Safety tips - camping
- Ensure cylinders are mounted with the relief valve directed away from the vehicle or trailer.
- Check that all appliances in the vehicle or trailer are turned off before opening the cylinder valve.
- Soap test all connections at the beginning of each season and at any time there is a smell of propane in or around the vehicle.
- Always open a window or vent when using propane powered cooking appliances.
- Check all appliance venting and grills for blockages or obstructions before lighting.
Appliances must have clean burning flames. Any evidence of carbon indicates a burner is out of adjustment and should be checked by a qualified gasfitter.