Half of 12-million LPG tanks in use nationwide defective – BFP

Published by rudy Date posted on April 5, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Half of the estimated 12 million LPG tanks in use nationwide are considered defective and substandard, according to an official of the Directorate for Fire Safety and Prevention (DFSP).

In a statement sent to The STAR, the DFSP said that while the 7,726 reported cases of fire incidents nationwide in 2008 were mostly caused by faulty electrical equipment, a small percentage was caused by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank explosions.

“We have estimated that out of the 12 million LPG tanks in use nationwide, six million are considered defective and substandard,” Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) officer-in-charge Chief Superintendent Rolando Bandilla Jr. said.

“LPG is a high-flammable, high-ignition item so a sudden accident is very likely to happen in homes with substandard LPG tanks,” he added.

He said the most common causes of LPG-induced fires were defective hoses, incorrect installation of the pressure regulators, and cylinder valves left open.

Defective tanks and improper installation could cause leakage of LPG vapor, which can accumulate in enclosed and low-lying areas.

“When this accumulation gets in contact with an ignition source, such as an open flame like stove, lighted cigarette or electrical systems like electric bulb, switch, motor, an explosion can occur,” he said.

The BFP partnered with private organizations like Pilipinas Shell and introduced a seven-point safety checklist for its Shellane products, which includes placing the LPG cylinders in a well-ventilated area, away from sources of ignition; inspecting the rubber O-ring inside the valve; using the correct regulator and checking its condition regularly; and attaching the regulator and ensuring that it is securely connected to the cylinder valve.

The checklist also includes the usage of correct hose and checking its condition regularly; using metal clamps to attach the hose to the regulator and appliance; and ensuring that the stove burner produces a blue flame.

Bandilla said LPG users should buy their LPG cylinder and accessories (regulator and hose) from authorized LPG dealers only and always check the security seal attached to the valve.

Sub-standard LPGs confiscated

Meanwhile, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Presidential Task Force on the Securities of Energy and Facilities and Enforcement of Energy Laws and Standards (PTF-SEFEELS) operatives confiscated a number of sub-standard LPG cylinders during an operation conducted in Bulacan on Thursday.

In a report to NBI Director Nestor Mantaring, lawyer Romy Bon Huy Lim, chief of NBI Criminal Intelligence Division (CID), said the combined operation of the NBI and PTF-SEFEELS was conducted at the premises of LPG dealer Sergio Sarmiento in Barangay Lawang Pare, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan after receiving reports that the establishment uses sub-standard LPG cylinders.

Appropriate charges are now being readied against Sarmiento. –-Cecille Suerte Felipe with Sandy Araneta, Philippine Star

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