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Liquid Petroleum Gas, or Propane, is commonly used as a fuel for forklifts, man lifts, certain types of heaters and lighting. When pressurized and/or chilled, the propane gas contained within a cylinder turns into a liquid state. A liquefied gas is much more "concentrated" than gas which is simply compressed. For example, one gallon of liquid propane will produce about 245-275 gallons of gas. The primary dangers created by LPG are fire/explosion, carbon monoxide poisoning, asphyxiation, and extreme cold.
If a gas is liquefied, the pressure can increase rapidly when the gas is heated. Heating can come about from purely natural sources, such as the sun. Under normal circumstances, a relief valve on the cylinder will release the gas in a controlled manner to prevent the cylinder from exploding due to over-pressurization. However, if the cylinder and valve are not properly maintained and/or the pressure build-up is very rapid, such as when the cylinder may be directly exposed to fire, a cylinder failure and subsequent explosion can occur.
There are several ways to prevent this. Always make sure the cylinder and relief valves are not damaged in any way. Damaged cylinders should never be used. Store cylinders out of the direct sun and away from other heat sources. A properly filled cylinder will not be full of liquid-some space should remain to accommodate gas that may be driven off due to heating. In this case, the gas will be retained in the cylinder rather than being released into the atmosphere where it could create a hazard. Other important safety measures to remember are as follows:
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