Domestic 45kg gas cylinders don’t pose a significant hazard during natural disasters, provided they’re correctly installed and maintained.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe during bushfires, cyclones, and other natural disasters.
Actions during a bushfire
If a bushfire approaches, you should follow these steps, provided it is safe to do so:
- Turn off all gas cylinders with the hand valve (located on the top, turn in a clockwise direction).
- Leave all gas cylinders installed and secured in an upright position.
- Make sure the area around the gas cylinders is free of combustible materials.
- Do NOT cover the gas cylinders with wet material to keep them cool, as they may dry out and become combustible.
- If the gas cylinders are exposed to heat, and if it is safe to do so, hose them down with water to reduce the pressure.
If a cyclone is approaching, follow these preparation steps.
General gas cylinder safety
You should always follow safety advice on how to use, store and maintain your gas cylinders.
Store your gas cylinders correctly
Gas cylinders should be:
- outside of buildings, nominally at ground level,
- not under a building or stairway,
- on a firm, level, and non-combustible base,
- secured to a solid structure,
- clear of combustible materials, and
- positioned so the safety valves point away from adjacent structures and gas cylinders.
Ask a licensed gasfitter about the safest ways to store and use your gas cylinders correctly. All gas fitting work, including relocating the regulator or piping, must be performed by a licensed professional.
Licensed gas fitters
- Gas cylinders must be inspected and tested by a suitably qualified person every 15 years, as out-of-date gas cylinders cannot legally be filled. Look for the test date stamp on your gas cylinders to check the last time they were inspected.
- Your personal safety – along with the safety of your family and property, is the priority. That’s why work involving gas must be undertaken by a licensed gas fitter, including the installation and removal of gas appliances.
- It is illegal for an unlicensed person to install or repair gas cylinders; do not attempt to repair a gas cylinder yourself. Never remove or tamper with valves or a corroded gas cylinder by grinding, drilling, or welding.
- Once gas work is completed, ask your gas fitter for a certificate to show the work has been carried out by a licensed professional.
- To find a licensed gas fitter, head online to the Master Plumbers & Gasfitters Association of Western Australia for services available in your area.
- The only exception to the rule is simple connections that involve attaching an outlet directly to a Kwik-Gas bottle, such as a connection found on a gas barbecue.
The safety valve
- On top of your gas cylinder, you’ll find a safety valve protected by a plastic cap. In high temperatures, the safety valve automatically releases gas to protect the gas cylinder. When enough gas has been released, the safety valve automatically closes.
- The safety valve operates independently from the hand valve and will continue to work if the gas cylinder is turned off. If the temperature rises enough for the safety valve to operate, a loud hissing noise will be heard. There may also be a fireball, which is normal, so always keep a safe distance from gas cylinders
Any damage to a gas cylinder, such as dents and gouges, will affect its integrity. Inspect your gas cylinders regularly and contact your supplier with any concerns. If a gas cylinder is exposed to a fire, the steel can be damaged and may need to be removed from service. Contact your supplier if you’re concerned.
Installing a support structure
- It’s recommended 45kg gas cylinders be appropriately restrained to prevent tipping and to ensure the safety valve operates as intended. When considering how to restrain gas cylinders, the construction of your house should be taken into account.
- Restraints for gas cylinders are different for single brick or framed walled buildings and double brick buildings.
- Single brick and framed walls are likely to fall over during a fire, so securing the gas cylinders to a separate support structure is recommended. Double brick walls will generally remain standing after a fire, so a restraint system bolted to the wall is usually acceptable.
How do I report a gas emergency?
If your life or property is under threat, call 000 immediately. For non-life-threatening emergencies, including faults or leaks, call:
- Kleenheat gas cylinder customers (gas cylinders, tanks and reticulated gas network) can call 1800 093 336 in the event of a gas emergency.
- Natural gas pipeline issues (ATCO Australia) on 13 13 52
- Electricity (Western Power) on 13 13 51