Wildfires may threaten propane
- Tips to tank owners in case fire breaks out -

With wildfires a threat during the hot summer months on Thetis Island - the Thetis Island Vol. Fire Dept. wants Thetis Islanders whose homes or businesses are fueled by propane gas to know what to do in the event of one of these fast-moving fires. For those who have propane tanks, we urge you to be prepared to protect your family and property. If you have time to do so safely before evacuating due to a wildfire, one of the most important steps to take is to turn off the shut-off valve on your propane tank. Turn it all the way clockwise. After the emergency has passed, have your propane system inspected for leaks before turning it back on.

Below are these and other steps to take before, during and after a wildfire:

Before a wildfire:

  • Make sure any small propane cylinders are stored outdoors, and check the area around your main propane fuel tank. Clear out vegetation or other items that can burn around the tank. Mow close to the ground, and cut back all growth around tank supports. Trim overhanging trees or shrubs.

  • Your propane supplier can help by showing you where your service line is buried and how to operate your propane system's safety features. Have your supplier show you and your family how to turn off the gas at the tank.

  • Finally, post emergency phone numbers in an agreed location and make sure all family members know your designated meeting area for emergencies. Know your Local Neighbourhood Emergency Response neighbourhood designation, and be familiar with the emergency planning information found in the first few pages of the Thetis Island Phone Book. The Thetis Island Phone book may be purchased at Thetis Island Marina or from Veronica Shelford (veronica@thetisisland.net) for $5 each.

During a wildfire:
  • If it is safe to do so, disconnect small propane cylinders from grills or other appliances and move them away from any structures.

  • Shut the cylinders' service valves by turning them all the way clockwise. Also, turn off the shut-off valve on the propane container if your house is fueled by propane.

  • In the event of an evacuation, follow emergency workers' instructions.

After a wildfire:
  • Propane storage containers exposed to fire need to be inspected and, if necessary, tested and repaired. Contact a licensed propane supplier to inspect the container and system to ensure it is safe for use.

  • Always use caution when re-entering buildings following an evacuation. If you smell gas, do not operate electrical switches, appliances or telephones. These actions could ignite propane vapor. Exit the building quickly and carefully. Check the shut-off valve on your propane container, and if it is not turned to the off position, turn the valve clockwise to the off position. Go to a neighbor's phone or use a cellphone outside to call emergency personnel or your propane supplier for help. The Thetis Island Vol. Fire Dept. is equipped with a gas detector that can detect abnormal levels of propane in the air.

  • For more safety tips on propane appliances check out the Fortis propane site http://www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/GasSafety/SafetyHomeWork/Pages/Propane-safety.aspx