How to safely handle gas cylinders

Gas cylinders on sale in Nairobi. [File, Standard]

As of October 2023, 24 per cent of Kenyans were recorded to be using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders.

The number is increasing as more and more Kenyans prefer gas to other forms of fuel.

However, despite its numerous advantages, petroleum gas can also cause serious damage. 

In case of an explosion, beyond causing damage to property through fire, there is also the risk of burns, inhalation injuries - damage to the respiratory tract or lung tissue from heat, smoke, or chemical irritants carried into the airway during inspiration, and even loss of lives. 

Safety measures

For safety purposes, if you detect a leak from the gas cylinder, you should not light a fire or operate any electrical switches; instead, open all doors and windows, disconnect the cylinder, and place it outside, in an open space.

While outside, inspect the cylinder for leaks by pouring soapy water on the area you suspect might be leaking.

If bubbles are forming, then there is a gas leak.

Once you detect a leak, cover the cylinder with a wet cloth and contact your LPG dealer for emergency assistance.

However, if the leak is not on the cylinder, you are advised to ensure checks are done on the other fittings including the burner. 

Furthermore, you are advised to frequently check and change your fittings to avoid gas leakage.

What if there’s an explosion?

In case of an explosion and one has inhaled the gas and is experiencing difficulty breathing, immediately get them outside the house so that they can have some fresh air.

Ensure they are lying in a comfortable position. 

Administer artificial respiration if necessary. 

If the skin has come in contact with the gas or any burns have been experienced, remove the area covered by cloth and rinse it with cold water then get the injured person to a hospital immediately, for emergency care. 

 *This story has been compiled using guidelines published by Total Kenya PLC and SuperGas LPG Company.