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Propane Shortage - State Establishes Public Hotline

Friday, January 31, 2014  
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The cold winter is a growing concern for Minnesotans who use propane to heat their homes as prices rise and long-term supplies are stretched. As a result of Governor Dayton's declaration of a State of Peacetime Emergency, state agencies are ramping up efforts to respond. 


The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is now partially activated to coordinate the state response. The partial activation means that the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division (HSEM) coordinate efforts of state agencies. HSEM is in contact with state, local and voluntary partners to coordinate any potential resource requests. HSEM officials held a conference call with emergency managers from all 87 Minnesota counties along with representatives from not-for-profit organizations and many state agencies. There are currently no requests for state assistance. 


Governor Dayton declared a State of Peacetime Emergency in Minnesota on Monday in response to the persistent cold weather and the increased risk households may run out of heating fuel, a situation that would pose immediate threat to public safety. 


People who use propane to heat their homes can take several steps at this time, including the following:


  • Conserve energy as much as possible.
  • Turn down thermostats and be aware of your propane use.
  • Reach out to family and friends for assistance.
  • Check on your neighbors.
  • Check with your local emergency management agency to find resources in your community.
  • Call 9-1-1 only in a crisis


The State Fire Marshal (SFM) reminds residents to use caution when using alternative heating sources such as space heaters.


  • Keep anything flammable -- including pets and people -- at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Space heaters need constant watching.
  • Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
  • Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
  • Make sure all cords on electric heaters are in good shape and checked periodically for any frays or breaks in the insulation surrounding the wires.
  • Check the cord and outlet occasionally for overheating; if it feels hot, discontinue use.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.
  • Use a heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.