In the Know: Safety in propane-powered outdoor living spaces

June 8, 2021 By    

In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas and Propane Resources. This month, Shawn Treat, director of operations and safety, explains how propane retailers can help their customers use outdoor living appliances safely.

QUESTION: What messages should propane retailers convey to customers about the safe use of propane in outdoor living spaces?

ANSWER: Outdoor living has become more popular and, for many, a way of life. While residents stayed home over the past 12-14 months, home remodeling, repair and improvement suddenly boomed.

Propane marketers should offer to look at customers’ plans for outdoor living spaces and voice any safety concerns. Photo courtesy of propane Education & Research Council

Propane marketers should offer to look at customers’ plans for outdoor living spaces and voice any safety concerns. Photo courtesy of Propane Education & Research Council

For the majority of homeowners, the outdoor improvements included gas fire pits, cook centers, patio heaters, pool heaters and log sets for outdoor hearths.

Even though these appliances take residence outside, it is still important to remind customers of precautions and safety procedures.

There are even a few important items to take into consideration when planning and designing the layout of a propane-powered outdoor living space:

  • Depending on where customers live, they may need to check city guidelines for required distances from structures.
  • Will this project require a permit?
  • Ensure design layout includes proper ventilation so propane can dissipate correctly.
  • Educate your customers on the importance of propane safety by performing regular system safety checks on all new installations.
  • Educate your customers on the proper operation of their new outdoor appliances and how to properly shut them off in the case of a propane leak.
Headshot: Shawn Treat


Here are other important reminders for your customers regarding the use of cylinders for their propane-powered outdoor living needs:

  • Do not store cylinders in an enclosed area.
  • Store cylinders in an upright position.
  • Keep igniters, matches, lighters and other ignition sources away from the propane source.
  • Keep animals and small children at a safe distance from flames and heat sources.
  • And, as always, if you smell gas, leave the premises and call 911.

In addition to the above, offer to take a look at your customers’ outdoor area and plans, and let them know if you have any safety concerns. You can also do this when running lines from their tank to the grill or fire pit.

The Propane Education & Research Council also provides the “Important Propane Safety Information for Users of Small Cylinders” brochure, which can be purchased and used as a handout for your customers. This is just another way to spread the word about the safe use and handling of propane.

Remember: Your customers’ safety should always be your No. 1 priority.

Shawn Treat is director of operations and safety at Propane Resources. He can be reached at 417-631-8595 or

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