Iowans will be flocking to various outdoor destinations this weekend as Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. Michelle Swertzic, a spokesperson for the propane industry, says as people start firing up those gas grills, they need to take some common sense precautions.
The first thing is getting the propane bottle filled or swapping out a new one at an exchange station, and she says you should take it right home, not leave it in the car while you run errands or do other things. While transporting or storing the bottle, be sure to keep it in an upright position; don’t lay it down on its side. Swertzic says you can keep the tank from falling on its side in the back of a truck or in the trunk of a car by using a bungee cord to secure it.
Before you start cooking, she recommends a tip to check for any leaks in your connection. Once you hook it up, take a mix of liquid soap and water and put it all around the connections to see if it makes a bubble. That gives you visual confirmation that it’s all hooked up correctly and you don’t have any leaks or anything screwed in wrong. She says owners need to remember common-sense tips like not smoking around a gas grill, and not allowing children around propane tanks. And of course, never leave that grill unattended.
Swertzic says the National Fire Protection’s figured out the number-one cause of grill incidents is people putting something onto a grill and then leaving it unwatched. The propane-gas association’s website offers handling and storage advice to farm users, dealers, and builders as well as home users planning to grill with propane. See their tips and information on training sessions for professionals at “Iowa Propane dot-org.”