Be cautious when using propane

The recent tragic propane gas explosion in New Milford is a stark reminder that those who use propane gas need to be aware of how to deal with it.

Propane is a fuel used by three million homes across the Northeast, according to the Propane Gas Association of New England. It is used for home heating, cooking, water heating, clothes dryers, fireplaces, pool heaters and backyard grilling.

While convenient and safe when handled properly, it’s important to leave technical and repair work to professionals — licensed propane service technicians who are trained to work with it. Consumers should not attempt to service or repair propane leaks or propane equipment.

When people detect the rotten egg smell of mercaptan, an additive used to odorize propane gas because it has no smell, they should immediately leave the area and call 911 and the propane supplier from a from a neighbor’s phone. If enough propane has built up, any source of electricity — including using a cell phone or turning on a light switch — can spark an ignition and cause an explosion.

Don’t be afraid to use your propane or other appliances, but be sure to keep them in good working order and use them properly and safely.

Susan Wolf is the editor of The Redding Pilot a Hersam Acorn newspaper.

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