Sent to us by Erin Warbrook, Freelance Writer and P.R. 

 Panicking during a fire can often make the situation worse.  This is why it is recommended that families living in bushfire risk areas have a fire plan; preparing helps make sure everyone can escape safely and calmly during an emergency.  Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders can ignite during bushfires, but doing regular safety checks and sensible storage can help families minimize and prevent a possible disaster.

Taking precautions at installation is the best way to avoid problems down the track.  Adults should regularly check that gas cylinders are upright, secured firmly and the valve facing away from buildings and other cylinders.  It is easy to let debris  pile up outside, but making sure that flammable materials are kept well away from the cylinders should be a priority.  Make sure your cylinders turn off easily, and any problems should be reported immediately, and faulty cylinders should be returned or exchanged.  It is especially important to perform checks before summer, because the dry weather has been known to lead to bushfires suddenly.

Periodically inspecting for leaks is also necessary when using LPG cylinders.  Soapy water can be used to safely check for leaks instead of lighters or matches.  Water will bubble when placed over a joint with a leak.  Prevent leaks from causing damage by moving broken cylinders to a safe location until empty.

Knowing how to treat cylinders is the best way to keep them from igniting.  Cylinders should never be placed on their sides and should not be covered with damp materials.  While this keeps cylinders cool, it also causes a fire hazard when materials dry and are flammable.  If a cylinder does catch fire, a dry chemical fire extinguisher can stop the blaze.

Even careful homeowners find themselves in danger when nature behaves unexpectedly.  If a fire comes close to a house, then the proper actions can save lives and property.  The fire department should be called immediately, and all LPG cylinders must be turned off.  The brigade will send support and have extra instructions that can help during this crisis.  When turning off cylinders, turn the valve on top clockwise, and keep the cylinders upright.  If connected and in the proper position, then cylinders vent gas if there is too  much heat or pressure.

Remove any cylinders that are indoors or under the home.  Many people keep barbecue cylinders in or under the house, but storing cylinders elsewhere means homeowners will not have to worry about removing these cylinders in an emergency.  If it is safe to do so, then you may hose the cylinders with water to prevent pressure buildup.  Otherwise, everyone should stay away from the fire while waiting for the fire department.

LPG gas cylinders need to be professionally checked every ten years, but regularly inspecting cylinders makes them safer.  Knowing how to prevent fires and act when a fire occurs helps keep people, property and land safe.

For those who live in areas prone to fires, it’s a good idea to keep safety supplies on hand. Pat



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