RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – The North Lake Tahoe and Meeks Bay Fire Protection Districts report an increase in propane-related calls in the aftermath of recent storms.
While they say such surges are not unusual, they are advising the public on how to avoid snow-related gas leaks as the heavy snow loads on to propane tanks and plumbing systems.
“The repetitive freeze and thaw cycles following these storms in combination with the heavy weight of the snowpack places glacial-like torsional stress on tanks and propane plumbing systems,” said North Tahoe Fire Chief, Steve Leighton. “This damages pipes and valves connecting tanks to structures and appliances, causing leaks that can be hazardous. Mitigating these dangers involves time-intensive and labor-intensive commitments by fire department resources, often during times of heavy call volume.”
As propane tanks run dry, concentrated quantities of odorant collect at the bottom, leading appliances to release strong propane aromas. The propane can also pool beneath the foundations of structures, running unnoticed beneath the snow.
The districts recommend the following:
Take caution when clearing snow from roofs and protect propane tanks or cylinders, propane lines, regulators, and vents from falling snow.
When plowing, snow blowing or shoveling, do not push or pile snow around a tank, meter, regulator, or piping.
Use caution when removing snow from the tanks and cylinders, gas piping and regulators, don’t use sharp tools or force.
Carefully clear heavy snow until the tank and equipment are visible, complete final clearing with soft tools such as brooms or brushes to prevent damage to equipment and components.
Tanks should not be allowed to run dry; doing so may require an inspection of all gas appliances before the tank can be refilled.
Be sure to place refill orders before the tank reaches 30-40 percent and keep tanks clear of snow with a path accessible to gas suppliers.
Propane smells like rotten eggs, and propane leaking into snow may release more of a musty odor.
Anytime there is an odor of propane or natural gas, call 911 immediately.
Watch this Propane Snow Safety PSA (2019), courtesy of Placer County Sheriff and North Tahoe Fire
Credits: KOLO TV
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