Be Aware of Potential Risk
Everyone with any connection to Shaver Lake is aware of the amount of snow that we have experienced in our area over the last few months. In addition to almost 200 hundred inches of snow, we have also had significant rainfall and weeks of below freezing temperatures.
Propane tanks that are covered in deep snow are at risk for leaks as the weight of the heavy snow and ice can cause fittings, joints, and sometimes even the entire tank to shift.
This problem can be compounded by snow being cleared off roofs, driveways, and walkways onto tanks, lines, and fittings. Large piles of snow surrounding tanks and lines can also prevent leaking gas from escaping thus creating a huge pocket of gas that could fuel an explosion or leak into your home.
Another problem that we have seen involves exhaust vents from gas furnaces becoming blocked or clogged with snow and ice. A compromised exhaust vent can produce serious injury or death from carbon monoxide poisoning. Fortunately, we have not seen any injuries but several houses are believed to have been destroyed by fires attributed to propane leaks and/or blocked exhaust vents.
We expect that the numbers of residents and guests returning to their homes and cabins in Shaver will increase as the weather grows warmer. With that in mind, there is some information we wanted to provide you about propane safety and how to keep your family safe.
Upon your return, promptly clear snow off the top of all propane tanks, gauges, fittings, and lines. It is recommended that you use a broom or non-metallic shovel to accomplish this task to prevent accidentally puncturing the tank or line. Inspect chimneys, flue pipes, gas meters and vent connectors for damage, blockage, or debris.
Be on the lookout for any signs of gas leaks in and around your home. If a leak is suspected, evacuate the home immediately leaving the doors and windows open as you leave, shut off the gas and your electrical power, vacate to a safe distance from the home, dial 9-1-1 and notify your gas provider.
Unlike propane, carbon monoxide is odorless and can be deadly. Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of your home and test their batteries when you return to your cabin after the long winter. It is very important to remember that the symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning are so easily mistaken for those of the common cold, flu or exhaustion.
It is our hope that by following these simple precautions, it will help you and your family stay safe and warm.