Encourage grill safety during COVID-19

May 12, 2020 By    

Each year, propane retailers tend to fill more cylinders as the weather gets warmer and customers fire up their grills and barbecues.

Photo: tab1962/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: tab1962/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Retailers may see even higher volumes during the spring as the coronavirus pandemic keeps residents at home and urges them to spend more time outdoors.

Stephanie Bolding of Prince Gas, based in Landrum, South Carolina, saw a “tremendous pickup” in grilling fuel in mid-April, while residents abided by stay-at-home orders.

Tommy Busbee of Evergreen Propane in Georgia reported a similar uptick in residential gallon sales – for applications like cooking and grilling – as his customers hunkered down.

The propane industry has implemented safeguards to maintain social distancing and sanitation guidelines while continuing to exchange and fill cylinders for customers during the pandemic. While the virus spreads mainly from person to person via respiratory droplets, it can also be transmitted by directly touching a contaminated object, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Industry organizations such as the Canadian Propane Association (CPA) note that, without proper precautions, the cylinder exchange and fill process could transmit the virus.

“Our members have undertaken a number of precautions and extra measures in their operations that will allow the public to safely exchange or fill their propane cylinders while protecting the health and well-being of customers and staff,” says Nathalie St-Pierre, president and CEO of CPA. “These measures include wearing personal protective equipment, washing and disinfecting cylinders and tank filling points, and washing down truck-unloading areas before and after cylinder deliveries.”

Coronavirus-related restrictions also heighten the urgency of accident prevention and preparedness. As more customers top off their cylinders, it’s a good time to remind them of best safety practices when using propane-powered grills. CPA cautions residents to:

  • Check for leaks along cylinder connections and hoses with a 50/50 solution of soap and water, especially if it’s the first time the grill will be used this season.
  • Make sure the lid is open when igniting the grill.
  • Position the grill away from wooden fences or walls.
  • Never store or place propane cylinders near the grill, or near sources of heat or ignition.
  • Always grill outdoors to ensure proper ventilation of carbon monoxide emissions.

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