WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SMELL GAS?
- 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.
- LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
- 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).
- REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s home or other nearby 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.
- DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
- 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.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE SMELL OF PROPANE
Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Propane manufacturers add the smell deliberately to help alert customers to propane leaks, which can create a safety hazard.
TAKE THE SNIFF TEST. Teach everyone in your home or building what propane smells like. You can use the blue circle on the page opposite of the inside front cover. Or, ask your propane retailer for a demonstration.
CAN YOU SMELL IT?
- It may be hard for some people to smell propane for the following reasons:
- They have a cold, allergies, sinus congestion, or another medical condition.
- Their sense of smell is reduced due to use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
- Tobacco smoke, cooking odors, and other strong odors can mask the smell of propane.
- As people age, their sense of smell can become less sensitive.
- If the smell of propane is present in the air over a period of time, “odor fatigue” can occur. The nose “gets tired,” and a person no longer smells the propane odor.
- The propane smell may not be strong enough to wake up someone who is sleeping.
- The propane smell may be in a location (basement or attic) where it is not detected by people in other areas of the building.
- A phenomenon called “odor loss” can occur—an unintended reduction in the concentration of the odor of propane (as explained on page 8).