PERC is committed to ensuring that propane remains
a safe choice for everyone who depends on clean
and reliable energy for their homes, farms, businesses or vehicles.
To that end, PERC sponsored and facilitated two Industry Responders' Conferences in 2010, bringing together hundreds of firefighters, hazmat crew members, emergency response managers, and propane marketers and suppliers to exchange vital propane safety information to help each other improve safety and enhance response. We also grew the consumer safety campaign to reach an unprecedented number of propane users with safety tips for home appliances and grilling — especially important since more than one in three U.S. homes cooks outdoors with propane. And we conducted broad consumer safety research to identify informational needs and to establish a basis for expanded and effective safety communications with diverse groups of propane consumers.
Of course, we continued to provide the industry's largest selection of accurate, authoritative, and reliable propane safety publications and resources, at the industry-oriented website propanesafety.com, at the consumer-oriented website usepropane.com, and through the online Propane Marketer Resource Catalog
The value of these resources, and of PERC's entire consumer safety program, was dramatically demonstrated in 2010 when a Michigan jury unanimously sided with marketer Northwest Energy (an Inergy company) that the PERC-produced duty-to-warn brochure had provided a residential customer with sufficient information about the safe use of propane. After a fire in their home, the plaintiffs had sought $1.8 million in damages claiming that the safety materials provided by Northwest did not adequately recommend the use of gas detectors. The plaintiff received no monetary compensation at all.
"The verdict is significant for everyone in the propane industry," said the lead defense attorney, David Schlee. "The plaintiffs made a direct attack on the Propane Education & Research Council warning literature distributed by Northwest, and they argued that installation of electronic gas detectors is necessary for the safe use of propane. The jury rejected both arguments. So this verdict also represents a strong vindication of PERC's consumer safety program."