Explosion of gas tank prompts recommendations for safety

A fire and explosion at a small restaurant in Barrio el Carmen in Alajuela that resulted in the death of three persons has left many wondering what can be done to prevent it from happening to them.

The Bomberos de Costa Rica have issued a series of precautions to save persons from disastrous fires:

• According to the fire department, persons should not buy cylinders that are visibly corroded or beaten. They should also check that the cylinder has a plastic seal in the valve, buy from an authorized dealer and check that cylinder brand is visible and also readable.

• When transporting the cylinder, it should be kept in an upright position.

• When installing gas tanks at home, the owner should check that the taps in the kitchen are closed, make sure the stopcock of the regulator is closed and remove any close device that has an open flame.

• In regards to the location of the tank, persons should try to place the cylinder in an open, well-ventilated area, make sure it is upright, avoid locating it close to the sun.

• Avoid that tanks are within the reach of children.

• Be careful that it is anchored to a fixed point.

• It is recommended to install a quick shutoff valve, located between the kitchen and the cylinder, in an accessible location.

Some other emergency advice:

Before an escape or leak:
1. Alert other occupants.
2. Do not attempt to control the leak.
3. Do not operate light switches.
4. Do not connect or disconnect electrical items.
5. EVACUATE and call the 9-1-1 telephone number.

If you smell gas (similar to rotten eggs):
1. Alert other occupants.
2. Close the regulator or emergency wrench.
3. Open doors and windows.
4. Do not handle switches or electrical items.
5. EVACUATE and call the 9-1-1 telephone number.

Note: avoid making the phone call from inside the house

Behavior of the LP GAS:

1. LP GAS has no color.
2. If it escapes the cylinder gas is heavier than air and it seeks
ground level.
3. It has an odor similar to rotten eggs or a dead rat.
4. It is highly flammable.

General recommendations:

1. The system of coupling by means of thread is the safest. However, if the system is a quick coupling the user should make sure it engages properly.
2. Use approved for GAS hoses or copper tubing.
3. The person who installs, repairs or is recommended must be certified.
4. Never repair a cylinder.
5. If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional or go to the nearest fire station.
6 Landlines, mobile phones, lighting fixtures and electrical appliances have the ability to generate a spark and ignite the gas.

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