Sep 20, 2014
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Farm Talk on the Front Porch

RSS By: Grinnell Mutual,

You face risks as you cultivate crops and raise livestock. We’ll share tips, stories and recommendations to help you protect property and prevent costly losses on the farm. It's our Policy of Working Together®.

Grinnell Mutual safety demonstration prevents explosion and injury 10 years later

Jan 02, 2014

Grinnell Mutual Claims Manager Mark Lageveen didn't realize the lasting impact an LP gas demonstration would have on his son’s sixth grade class. That is, until Lageveen ran into one of his son's classmates last spring. The young man not only recalled Lageveen's demonstration from 11 years ago but he had used the knowledge of LP gas properties to prevent a serious accident.

"With loss control initiatives, you never know if you prevented something because it doesn't happen. That's why it was neat to hear this young man's story," said Lageveen.

As related to Lageveen, the young man was visiting a family member whose LP gas line was accidentally cut by a mower or weed eater. The leaking line was sending gas into the home and could be smelled as soon as he opened the door. One of his family members was about to go down to the basement with a lit cigarette when the young man stopped her just in time. He immediately shut the gas tank off and aired out the basement.

"Because LP gas is heavier than air, it sank to the basement. This young man knew that a lit cigarette would ignite the gas and explode," said Lageveen. "I'm sure he prevented a serious injury, if not death."

The demonstration—learning the properties of LP gas

The LP gas experiment Lageveen presented was developed by one of the founder's of Grinnell Mutual's loss control program, Gary Downey. It shows the physical properties of LP gas, which is commonly used to heat and cool homes in the rural Midwest. Small LP tanks are also used in outdoor gas grills and campers.

During the presentation, a glass jar filled with LP gas is poured into a pan elevated 30 inches above a table. A hole in the bottom of the pan is attached to a long plastic tube which terminates directly above a votive candle sitting on the table. Because the vapors are heavier than air, the gas flows down the tube. When the vapors reach the candle, the gas ignites and flashes up the tube, consuming the LP gas vapor.

Learn more about responding to gas leaks

Check out these articles, Is my gas grill safe?  and Is my home safe - LP gas 101 under the Resource Center on and share them with your customers.


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