Propane Gas Emergency Procedures

What To Do If You Smell GasIn case of a propane emergency - infographic on how to shut off a valve on tanks and meters

  1. Put out all smoking materials and other open flames.
  2. DO NOT operate a light switch, telephone, cigarette lighter, appliance, or thermostat. Any spark in the area where propane gas is present may ignite gas.
  3. Get everyone out of the building immediately.
  4. Shut off the gas supply at tank or cylinder. (See instructions at right.)
  5. Call Blue Star Gas – Use your neighbor’s telephone if gas odor is in the building.
  6. Have your gas service person:
    • Fix the leak
    • Check and re-light your propane appliances
    • Air out the building



Propane Odorant

For your safety, propane has an odor added so you can detect leaks. You and each person using or handling propane in your household must know the smell of propane. Propane has an unusual odor, similar to rotten eggs. If anyone is unable to recognize the odor of propane, call us immediately.

Because propane is heavier than air, leaks will tend to settle to the floor or basement. To check for propane, carefully smell in low spots.

Under some of the following conditions, you may not be able to smell a gas leak. For example:

  • Age, colds, allergies, sinus congestion or the use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs may diminish your sense of smell.
  • Cooking or other strong odors may cover up the smell of gas.
  • In certain circumstances, propane gas may lose all its distinctive smell. This is called “ODORANT FADE”.
  • Sometimes propane gas can even lose its odor if a leak occurs underground.

For those reasons, it is recommended that you purchase and install a propane gas detector according to the
manufacturer’s instructions as a back-up warning device. If anyone using or handling propane is unable to recognize
the odor of propane, you should not use it until you have purchased and installed gas detectors.

Material Safety Data Sheets for propane are available by contacting your local Blue Star Gas Office.

The following is important safety information on your gas control and pilot light system for standing pilot heating and water heating equipment:

Your pilot light system has been designed for safe and reliable operation. Although safety mechanisms are built-in, the potential for hazard exists. This information is intended to help you avoid these hazards.

Gas Safety - matchesYour gas control and pilot light system has a safety device whose purpose is to shut-off the gas supply to the appliance if the pilot light goes out. If you have trouble lighting the pilot or keeping it lit, it may mean that this safety device is warning you that there is a problem with your system. Inspection and repairs or replacement must be made by a trained gas service technician.


  • If you smell gas, do not attempt to light your appliance.
  • Do not touch electrical switches or use the phone in your building.
  • Shut off the gas supply to the appliance.
  • Leave the building and call your gas supplier. If you cannot reach your gas supplier, call the fire department.
  • Never tamper with or use force or tools on the gas control system. If the gas control knob will not operate by hand, the control must be replaced. Repairs must be made only by a trained gas service technician.

Gas maintenance toolsThe pilot safety system may also not work if you do not follow the lighting instructions carefully, or if you tamper with the gas control that you use to light the pilot. Tampering with the gas control, particularly with tools, can damage the safety mechanism in the control and can allow gas to leak. This can result in a fire or explosion causing property damage, personal injury or death.


California Proposition 65 Public Warning

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly referred to as Proposition 65, requires the governor to publish a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. It also requires California businesses to warn the public quarterly of potential exposure to these chemicals, which result from the products they use, make, or distribute.

Blue Star Gas facilities store and distribute propane to wholesale and retail customers in Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah for various uses. Propane itself is not a listed Proposition 65 chemical. The combustion of propane in appliances, such as stoves or heating systems, and vehicles using propane, creates harmful chemicals. These chemicals include carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde–all chemicals known to the state to cause cancer and/or birth defects.

Blue Star Gas encourages all of its customers to use propane safely. You should read and follow all use, care, and manufacturer instructions for propane appliances and equipment. Proper ventilation and frequent inspection of propane appliances and equipment is highly recommended.

Industrial Propane Emergencies

More information on propane emergencies in different industrial and commercial scenarios can be found at