Earthquakes often strike without warning and can be extremely destructive and, in many cases, deadly. They can happen during any time of the year. An earthquake can cause serious damage to property as well as trees, power lines, and equipment such as propane tanks. In addition, they can also contribute to fires, mudslides, power outages, and floods.
10 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Family Safe
- Consider anchoring or bracing your propane tank. This will help to prevent the tank from moving, sliding, or falling over during an earthquake.
- Clear the area around your tank. Remove any tall or heavy objects that can fall on the tank during an earthquake.
- Consider installing a seismic gas shutoff valve. This type of valve will automatically cut off the flow of gas to your home during an earthquake. Some areas may require the installation of a seismic gas shutoff valve. Contact your local authorities or propane retailer for more information.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with everyone in your family. Post a list with contact information for your propane retailer and emergency services (fire department, etc.) along with instructions for turning off propane, electricity, and water. If you do need to turn off your propane, contact a service technician to inspect your propane system prior to turning it back on.
- If an earthquake occurs, take cover. If you are inside a building and you feel the earth shaking, immediately get down on the floor and take cover under a sturdy stationary object such as a heavy table, counter, or desk. Protect your head and face, while holding onto the object, until the trembling stops.
- If you are outdoors, be aware of your surroundings. If you are outside, make sure that you stay clear of buildings, trees, power lines, propane tanks, or other large stationary objects that could collapse during a large tremor. Drop down on the ground and protect your head and face.
- Listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations. After the earthquake is over, you are not necessarily out of danger. Often, an earthquake is followed by after-shocks where additional trembling can be felt. These can occur shortly after the initial earthquake has occurred or even several days later. Listen to your local authorities, or television and radio stations, for instructions on the appropriate course of action to take.
- After the earthquake danger has passed, take the time to carefully evaluate the condition of all the structures on your property. If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles. Look carefully around the entire area. Check for downed power lines; they can create major safety hazards. Earthquakes can move, shift, or damage gas lines and tanks. Inspect chimneys, flue pipes, and vent connectors for damage, blockage, or debris. Immediately call your local utility company or propane retailer if any of these hazards are observed.
- Never use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or death. These include such appliances as outdoor portable heaters, barbecue grills, and portable generators. Only use appliances indoors that are designed and approved for indoor use.
- Schedule a time for a qualified service technician to perform a complete inspection of your propane system if you suspect any of your propane appliances, equipment, or vehicles have been damaged or you have turned off your gas supply. Never use or operate appliances, equipment, or vehicles, or turn on the gas supply, until your system has been inspected by a qualified service technician.
Taking these 10 simple steps can help promote safety all year long. With a little advance planning, you and your family can be prepared for natural disasters such as an earthquake. For additional information on preparing for earthquakes, other natural disasters, and severe weather conditions, visit usepropane.com or contact your propane retailer.