How to avoid propane gas safety incidents

A recent propane gas leak incident in Florida, USA with fatal
consequences has brought the spotlight back onto the issue of improper and
unsafe home heating systems.

Home heating systems are necessary during periods of colder weather,
especially when there are elderly people or young children in the house.
However, some people may not be able to enjoy the warmth of a properly
installed heating or air conditioning system either for financial reasons or
maintenance issues.

The incident in Pensacola, Florida involved a propane gas leak, which
was caused when a portable heater was placed onto a propane tank to heat the
inside of the house. Emergency services were called after a member of the
household, Jimmie Sunday, 29, woke up to propane fumes and dialled for help. Unfortunately,
three people were dead by the time help arrived.

According to the Pensacola Police, the victims were Bridget Sunday, 52,
Clarence Nettles, 54 and Tony Taylor Jr., 4. Another boy, Jaylen Sunday, 9, was
also in the house at the time and was taken to a local hospital in a stable
condition.

Chief Chip W. Simmons said the incident could have been avoided if
checks were in place, adding that any death was tragic, especially those that
could have been avoided.

Expressing his condolences to the family, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward
urged local families not to resort to the use of unventilated propane heaters
or other unsafe heating methods.

Why is propane gas dangerous?

Propane gas is extremely flammable, but inhaling it can be lethal with
fatal consequences. According to the Canadian Centre for
Occupational Health and Safety, propane gas can become a problem if
there’s a lack of oxygen in the environment. Closing doors and windows due
to the cold weather creates optimum conditions for the gas to build up and fill
the environment, as it happened in the Pensacola case.

The propane gas threat can also develop in a malfunctioning air
conditioning system, making it imperative for building managers and homeowners
to get their networks checked using appropriate gas detectors.

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