Some of the characteristics of propane, along with the regulations applied to its equipment, training, and handling, make it one of the safest energy sources when compared to other fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG).
- An odorant called Ethyl Mercaptan is added to propane so that leaks are easily detected.
- Propane has the lowest flammability range of all alternative fuels (2.4% – 9.5%) – so there must be a very specific combination of propane and oxygen for it to burn.
- Propane’s auto ignition temperature is approximately 493° – 549°C (920° – 1020°F), gasoline’s auto ignition temperature is around 257 °C (495°F) – therefore, gasoline will burn or explode at a much lower temperature than propane.
- Propane cylinders are a portable means of storing and transporting propane. Cylinders are regulated by Transport Canada and bear a TC stamp on the collar.
- Propane tanks are typically more permanent and larger storage installations than cylinders. Tanks are regulated by provincial and territorial authorities, and have a stamped plate that shows a Canadian Registration Number (CRN).
- It is illegal to fill propane cylinders or tanks to more than 80% capacity, allowing room for volume changes due to temperature variations.
- Propane cylinders and tanks must be equipped with a pressure relief valve that opens and closes to prevent excessive internal pressure due to abnormal conditions.
Propane Vehicle Safety Features
- Automotive propane tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than gasoline tanks – which makes them less likely to rupture in an accident.
- Propane tanks used in vehicles are equipped with a stop-fill valve that stops the filling process when the tank reaches 80% of its liquid capacity. The 80% fill limit allows room for volume changes due to temperature variations.
- Propane engine fuel systems are fitted with safety devices and shut-off valves that function automatically to prevent the escape of propane if the fuel line ruptures in an accident.
- Onboard safety valves allow fuel to flow only when the engine is operating.
- If a vehicle does catch fire in the event of an accident, the propane tank is designed to control its pressure via a pressure relief valve, saving the tank from rupturing and causing further damage.
As a propane company, our priority is to ensure the safe use of propane. Suroît Propane has adopted a strict response protocol against possible hazards. Suroît Propane is committed to safety with the help of its team of qualified professionals, through the ongoing training of its employees and by maintaining a rigorous and effective contingency plan.
A well-trained response team:
Each of our branches relies on the support of their in-house prevention committee. Our response team consists of several people, with each having a specific role:
Preventionist: A person whose role is to coordinate all activities relating to staff training.
Emergency Response Advisors (ERA): Professionals who have the role of advising external emergency responders, including the fire department, the Sûreté du Québec, Environment Canada, Canutec, etc. These professionals receive training from the Quebec Propane Association (AQP) and must renew their training periodically according to their years of experience in the field. They are the benchmarks and responders in case of an emergency.
The action plan:
Suroît Propane has a transportation and environment response plan that is kept up to date according to the Association's recommendations. This plan is mandatory for all handlers of category two classified products. We make sure to offer ongoing training to all our professionals. By doing so, we ensure that our ERAs and equipment are ready to provide reinforcement quickly in the event of an incident or emergency.
Fostering safety and mutual aid rather than competition
Suroît Propane is proud to be a part of the AQP's mutual aid plan. We are, therefore, the first responders called in the event of a spill or incident involving an AQP member propane tanker. Our response team is equipped with an emergency trailer with several parts and tools that can be used for different situations and incidents. It is set up to accommodate the various responders.
View the data sheet of the propane: