As more states begin to address the impacts of the advancing COVID-19 disease, NPGA has been made aware of temporary facilities being erected to prepare for the increased testing, hospitalization, and quarantine rates that are anticipated. As a result, these temporary facilities are installing propane tanks to fuel space heating and possibly other types of equipment.
Please note that from a code perspective, NFPA 58 provides the necessary requirements to safely make these types of installations. The code defines “Temporary Service” as an installation made for not more than 12 consecutive months at a given location. The 2020 edition of NFPA 58 addresses the installation of portable storage containers for temporary use (Section 6.8.5). The code also provides requirements for the temporary use of skid tanks (6.6.2) and porta-pacs (6.6.3).
Typical ASME containers are also allowed to be used for temporary installations as long as they comply with the requirements for appropriate separation distances from buildings. Also, the separation requirements for relief valve discharges, fill valves and fixed maximum liquid level gauges from sources of ignition will come into play as well as the requirements for regulator vent discharges.
Propane has a role to play in all emergency situations and its safe use will be especially important as communities respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing safe, isolated care facilities for people infected by the virus.
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