By Leslie Anderson, PGANE President and CEO
Safety is a core value of the propane industry. That’s why thousands of propane professionals are trained every year to ensure that millions of Americans use propane safely. It’s also why so many propane professionals network with emergency responders nationwide on how to safely respond to a propane incident, as well as distribute millions of propane safety brochures to their customers. In New England, training on safety and other matters is at the heart of licensing requirements for propane professionals.
Unlike residential natural gas pipelines, most propane residential systems serve a single residence or a single building. Propane systems are also equipped with multiple regulators, which stop high pressures from entering homes. This prevents large-scale propane incidents like the natural gas one that affected our neighbors in Massachusetts this September. Another unique characteristic of the propane industry is its commitment to safety through the Propane Education Research Council (PERC). PERC was created in 1996, and is funded through an assessment on odorized propane. Issues related to research and development, safety, education, and training are given priority by the Council in the development of its programs and projects, and the PERC materials are at the heart of our duty-to-warn literature and our safety training programs.
This year, PERC updated the consumer brochures on propane safety, and these are available for order through the Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE). (Call 888-445-1075 or go to propanecouncil.org) Market tested here in New England, this newly designed duty-to-warn brochure has a new look and feel designed to make consumers take a second look. The update also includes new topics, such as uncapped lines. During the focus group testing on this new brochure, consumers said they felt safer after reading the brochure, and they said they would save the larger brochure as a future reference and for peace of mind. The large brochure is ideal for a new propane customer, and the smaller brochure is a great annual brochure reminder.
PERC has developed programs on virtually every propane topic over the years, and these items can all be purchased from PGANE for a minimal cost. If you are looking for a program or information on a propane safety topic, please call our office and ask if there is something available. Popular must-have items include: Dispensing Propane Safely, Cylinder Requalification, Boom Truck Training, Bobtail Safety, PPE for Propane, Leak Check Programs, Red Tags, and of course the Certified Employee Training Programs (CETP).
Propane companies make up a unique industry. Safety professionals within our industry band together to develop safety resources and to help each other out in times of need. As an industry, we have a family culture when it comes to safety and emergency response. In New England, we have developed the PGANE Emergency Response Plan/Guide for New England. This mutual aid planning guide for emergencies is available for download on the PGANE website and lists the resources by state available from our members. PGANE has strong Emergency Response and Safety Committees, and we encourage companies to send their members to our meetings to join our committees. If you sell propane and you haven’t attended a PGANE committee meeting, you are missing out on valuable networking opportunities with some of the most seasoned safety professionals in the country. Come and learn about what we do, and as you grow please join in and help us develop the next generation of industry leaders. To learn more, please visit pgane.org.