According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an estimated 60 million propane-fueled devices in the United States.
In a split second one of those devices could malfunction or be used improperly causing catastrophe.
A New Town company and area firefighters have partnered together to learn how to prevent an event from happening and how to handle the situation if it happens.
“We have a lot of propane tanks and we supply propane and you know in the wrong circumstances it could get dangerous,” United Quality Chief Financial Officer Bryan Pederson said.
This is why Bryan Pederson and his team at United Quality, a grain, retail, and energy center, wanted to provide some training for those who have to approach those dangerous situations first hand.
“The safety of the personnel of our firefighters is very critical to us,” Pederson said.
Through a grant provided to United Quality by the North Dakota Propane Gas Association, Keene, New Town, and Plaza volunteer fire departments received that training through Fire Incorporated of Minnesota.
“We’ve got a prop propane tank here just simulating different things that firefighters may encounter with propane,” Fire Inc. Instructor Jory Danielson said.
Each department was taught how to assess the situation, cool down the heated spots, and put out the flames.
Each step just as critical as the next as propane fires differ from your normal fires.
“With propane, as it is a form of liquid, and as it off-gasses as a gas — that gas can travel and ignite in different situations where as a house fire is pretty much contained to that house fire,” Danielson said.
The training lasted for nearly five hours and those who participated say every minute was worth it.
“In rural North Dakota, we deal with propane all day long. It’s in every yard, back yard, and stuff like that. The possibility of a propane fire is pretty high around this area and it’s good to have the basic knowledge,” Keene Fire Training Officer Farren Wold said.
“It’s beneficial for us to know how to properly handle these sort of emergencies I think,” New Town Fire 2nd Asst. Chief Jesse Baker said.
Danielson says while the training is to prepare for the fight against propane-gas fires it’s still important to understand how to prevent the fight all together.
“The best thing people can do is when they’re done using things like a grill to definitely shut those tanks off. Try to keep them away from the house. A lot of people have their gas grills on their decks. It needs to be to the outermost part of the deck. But also making sure that their grills are cooled down if they keep them inside their garages so that they’re not still warm,” he said.
Pederson with United Quality says this is their first time providing training to firefighters like this and their hope is to continue it for years to come.