A recipe for propane safety in mobile kitchens

New videos share propane safety tips for operators of food trucks and mobile kitchens. 

Food Trucks and Propane Safey: Hazards on the Move

Food trucks were growing in popularity even before the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that dining and food service has moved primarily outside as part of B.C. health orders, food trucks are more popular than ever.

These meals on wheels appeal to people who want to be outside and enjoy the season while keeping distant from others.

The danger of propane leaks

Food truck operators most often use propane for cooking on site. It’s convenient and portable, but can be dangerous: if there is a leak, propane can build up and explode if it encounters an ignition source.

According to the WorkSafeBC bulletin Reducing the risk of propane explosions in food trucks, propane can leak from sources such as:

  • Tanks that are turned off incorrectly
  • Tanks that have leaky valves
  • Hose connections that are threaded improperly
  • Pilot lights that are not lit

See my post, Helping food truck owners put propane safety on the menu, for more information.

Check for leaks with a soap test

One way to test for propane leaks is to use the soap test. The video Food Trucks and Propane Safety: Soap Test shows food truck operators how to test for leaks when setting up in a new location. Here’s how to do it:

1) Make sure the main valve of the tank is closed.
2) Use a spray bottle of soap and water to spray the entire hose assembly, including the tank’s valve and regulator.
3) Open the valve of the propane tank without turning on the stove.
4) Look for bubbles that will appear at a leak site. If this happens, or if you smell propane, do not use the system until the leak is fixed.

These safety videos are not just for food trucks. Craft services in the motion picture and TV industry, mobile catering, and remote kitchens in resource camps also commonly use propane fuel.

Finding food trucks near you

This street food app includes a map, updated daily, of all trucks serving food in specific cities, including Vancouver, Squamish, Victoria, and others.

In some communities, as we see in the news, local governments and regulators have their work cut out for them as they address the influx of food trucks. Some parts of B.C. are opening more locations to food trucks this summer, such as Kelowna and Sooke.

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