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Wildfires and Keeping Your Family Safe

Living in the beautiful state of Colorado does not come without its share of dangers and threats to our way of life.  Southern Colorado is all too familiar with wildfires and the destruction they leave behind.  The Haymen Fire of 2002, destroying 137,760 acres, and The West Fork Fire Complex of 2013, destroying 110,405 acres, are just two examples of wildfires in our Colorado history that destroyed forests, structures, and caused fatalities.

Fires, fueled by dry weather conditions and drought, can threaten your residential home or commercial business.  At San Isabel Services Propane, safety is our number one priority.  We believe that by taking a few simple propane-related safety precautions, you can reduce the potential for property loss and personal injury.

Be Prepared for a Wildfire

  • Know how and where to shut off the outdoor propane supply and indoor propane appliances. If you need more information, contact our office @ 719-547-1214.
  • Clear at least a 10-foot area around your propane tank and gas grill of any debris. Remove anything that is combustible or easily ignited, including leaves, brush, and any vegetation.
  • Have an adequate supply of propane in your tank. During and after a wildfire, propane and other types of fuel may not be readily available and roads leading to your home or business might not be accessible for your propane delivery.
  • Make sure you and your family know what propane smells like.

Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal.

  • Never store or place a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
  • It is recommended that you consider installing a carbon monoxide (CO) detector listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) on every level of you home or commercial business.
  • Have a list of instructions on how to turn off electricity, propane, and water.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it regularly with your family in order to keep them safe during a potential disaster.

During a Wildfire

Wildfires can spread quickly and destroy or damage homes and property, including propane tanks and appliances.  In addition to the intense flames and heat of a wildfire, fallen trees and power lines can present major problems for homeowners and emergency responders.

If a wildfire threatens our safety, you may have to decide whether or not it is necessary to evacuate your home or business.  Listen to local authorities, television, and radio stations for instructions on what actions to take.  Whether it is determined that you should stay or leave, you should shut off your gas.

To 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)

Turn off the gas supply valves located near individual indoor appliances.  If you have propane fireplace or log set, close any screen, door, or damper.

What to do After a Wildfire

  • Use extreme caution when returning to your home or business. If you have any doubts about your safety, leave the area immediately and have your property inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before re-entering.
  • Once it is safe to return, take the time to carefully evaluate the condition of all the structures on your property. If it is dark, use flashlights not candles.  Check for downed power lines; they can create major safety hazards.  Inspect your gas lines and tank for damage.  Immediately call our San Isabel Services Propane office if you observe any safety hazards.
  • To help reduce the potential for injury or death, there are general safety rules that you should observe at all times:
    • Never store or place a propane cylinder indoors of in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
    • Never use outdoor propane appliances indoors in in enclosed areas. This can result in CO poisoning or death.  These include outdoor portable heaters, barbecue grills, and portable generators.  Only use appliances indoors that are designed and approved for indoor use.
    • Never use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
    • Do not under any circumstances try to modify or repair valves, regulators, or other appliance parts.
    • Never turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water. This can result in electrocution.
    • Do inspect chimneys, flue pipes, and vent connectors for damage, blockage, and debris.
    • Do inspect your propane appliances for water or other damage, if it is safe to do so. If the appliances have electric components and have been exposed to water, they can create a fire hazard.

For additional information, watch this youtube video.