CHALMETTE, LA (WVUE) - There's a date you should check before firing up that gas grill or lighting the burner under that pot of crawfish.
Customers packed "Today's Ketch" for both crawfish and to fill up propane tanks ahead of Easter weekend.
"It's just so important to fill these tanks properly. And when I say that, you do not want to overfill a tank by any means because if it overfills and it builds up a little heat and pops off. Gas has got to come out the tank. You got gas coming out, all you need is a source of ignition and you've got a fire and explosion on hand," Today's Ketch Owner Jeff Pohlmann said.
Pohlmann explains that by state law, tanks need to be changed after 12 years. Owners can check if they're overdue by checking the manufacture date on the tank.
He examined each tank brought in - many that were expired.
"If we was to fill this tank, and something was to happen, I got that on my conscience, and I'm not going to do that," Pohlmann said.
Pohlmann said other things he checks for are condition and color. If there's rust or the tank is dark, he said it's more vulnerable for damage or for pressure to build up in the heat.
Re-certified tanks have even less time before they need to be replaced.
"They'll stamp the year and the month that it was re-certified, and they put the letter "E" behind it. When the letter "E" is behind it, you have five years from that date," Pohlmann said.
Pohlmann said many people purchased tanks after Hurricane Katrina.
"They bought a new tank in '05 and '06. So 12 years from that point, is where we at now," Pohlmann said.
Fire Chief Tim McConnell said you should also check the UL labels on the hoses and regulators to make sure they can be used with propane.
"The regulators aren't the same ones you would use on natural gas because the pressures are different. Pressures for propane are much higher than they are for natural gas," McConnell said.
Because of that, he said it's important not to fill propane tanks all the way and to be careful when cooking outside.
"If something were to spill, or if you would've had a leak of the gas and it puts the fire out, immediately shut off your gas supply," McConnell said.
Pohlmann said he's had to turn away some angry customers because their tanks were overdue.
"My motto is we'd rather you leave here mad and safe than happy and unsafe," Pohlmann said.
McConnell said if you're not sure about your tank, those filling it should know.