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From the desk of Fire Marshal Fred Baker

Published 12:41 pm, Saturday, May 25, 2013
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Memorial Day kicks off the unofficial summer season this weekend, and plenty of residents will be celebrating with barbecues.

But what do you do with an old propane tank that is no longer serviceable? After 12 years, propane tanks cannot be refilled without proper recertification. Some retailers will dispose of them for you (for a fee), however not everyone is so diligent. Many of these tanks return home to sit in the garage, shed, outside or, worst of all, in the home.

These tanks, even when empty, pose an explosion hazard when exposed to fire and should be disposed of properly for everyone's safety -- yours and first responders.

They can be returned to your local refilling retailer or exchanged at locations that offer that service. You may also bring them to the Town of New Canaan Recycling Center where they will take them for disposal, as long as you have your annual pass. If you are unable to bring them to the transfer station, please contact the New Canaan Fire Marshal's Office and pick up will be arranged.

Please help us to help you be safe by following these additional safety tips for propane use:

If you smell gas (inside or out) turn off the gas at the tank (if possible), evacuate the area and call 911. The fire department will respond and test for flammable vapors.

Have gas appliances serviced by certified technicians annually to ensure safe and efficient use.

When transporting portable tanks to refill/exchange, they must be kept in an upright position. (A milk crate is the perfect size to provide a broader base.)

Never leave a tank in your car longer than necessary -- especially after they have been filled. The heat of the sun may cause that gas to expand and possible operating the relief valve dumping dangerous gas into you car.

Make sure outdoor grills (gas and charcoal) are at least 3 feet away from structures when in use.

Contact the New Canaan Fire Marshal's Office at 203-594-3030 for questions regarding gas or other fire safety questions.