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Propane Safe Handling Program (PSHP)

The Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA), in cooperation with the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs (MAFC) is launching the Propane Safe Handling Program (PSHP) to promote safety with liquid propane gas and propane equipment. The goal of PSHP is to educate farmers and other rural propane consumers on the proper usage of propane. Through a propane industry grant, the MPGA is offering free information regarding propane safety.

"Propane is a safe source of fuel when handled properly, but human ignorance and carelessness can make it volatile," says MPGA president Wayne Kohley. "Specifically, accidents can occur in rural communities when individuals use dangerous techniques, including tank tampering, to fill propane tanks." In one situation, an MPGA member found a farmer using rags and duct tape to attach a fill hose to his equipment. Tampering also includes removing or altering valves, caps or safety locks on propane tanks, making field repairs to propane systems or disconnecting the gas line from a bulk tank to hook up to portable cylinders or farm equipment.

People tamper with tanks because they think they will save money, but it is extremely dangerous because tampered tanks can leak, creating the potential for an explosion. Tampering renders the safety features of the tanks inoperable, and tampered tanks pose a great risk of injury or property damage. Accidents also occur when homeowners have allowed their bulk tank to run nearly dry. This sets up a dangerous situation for homeowners, their families and those trying to help them including local fire fighters and propane suppliers. Only people in the propane industry are qualified to modify or adjust propane systems. Please consult with your local propane supplier before you touch anything that could affect your system.

Tampering with propane tanks is illegal. The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code (NFPA- 58) regulates residential fuel gas system piping installation, venting and associated equipment for all types of gas fuels, including propane. Tampered tanks pose a great risk of injury or property damage because they can leak, creating the potential for an explosion or burns. "Homeowners who need assistance need to plan ahead," says MPGA Safety Chairman, Larry Otto. "They need to get assistance before they run out of fuel, they should not wait until the last minute. They not only end up spending more in the long run but they jeopardize their own safety."

The MPGA has a history of successful public education programs designed to increase consumer and professional confidence in propane use. The MPGA's goal with these programs is to eliminate accidents by making sure everyone knows how to use propane safely and effectively. Additionally, the MPGA hosts statewide training sessions that teach fire fighters the best way to deal with propane fires.

"For over seven years, the MPGA has provided first responders with vital hands-on safety training skills. The MAFC is pleased to partner with the propane industry to promote consumer safety and the proper use of propane and propane equipment," says Chief Bill Nelson, MAFC president.

Tips for safe handling of propane:
  • DO NOT add hoses or fixtures to bulk tanks.
  • DO NOT disconnect the gas line from a bulk tank to hook up portable propane cylinders directly to a building.
  • DO NOT take propane tanks inside homes, garages or barns.
  • DO NOT fill portable cylinders from a bulk tank.
  • DO NOT attempt to repair bulk tanks or portable cylinders.
  • DO have your propane cylinders inspected 12 years after manufacture and every five years after that.
  • DO contact your local, trained and certified propane expert for all changes with your propane system.

Facts about propane:

  • If liquid propane leaks, it vaporizes and safely dissipates into the air.
  • Propane gas is nontoxic, so it's not harmful to soil and water.
  • Compared to methanol, ethanol and compressed natural gas, propane has the lowest flammability range, a major safety advantage.
  • A propane tank is 20 times more puncture resistant than a typical gasoline, methanol or ethanol tank.