The unfortunate accidental injury of 53 year old Trinidad and Tobago national, Indra Changar following a CNG fuel tank explosion in her official school bus transport vehicle, has spurred concerns over the safety of the use of CNG fuel tanks in this country. There have been similar CNG gas explosion reports around the world.
Changar is warded in critical condition at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope. She is said to be conscious but weak, and in extreme pain. The incident occurred on Friday at about 5 am as she was preparing to leave her Munroe Road, Chaguanas home, to collect and drop off school children. She sustained severe burns on her body and severe injuries to the eyes.
The situation now raises eyebrows on the safety and installation of CNG tanks in Trinidad and Tobago. Yesterday, NGC CNG said it will be meeting with all relevant stakeholders to facilitate a proper and thorough investigation and to ensure the ongoing safety and security of CNG systems and users in Trinidad and Tobago.
HERE ARE SOME SAFETY GUIDELINES THAT SHOULD BE ADOPTED BY ALL CNG TANK USERS :
- Always use approved CNG kit & cylinder. It is dangerous and illegal to use substandard cylinder and fittings.
- Do not install LPG, Propane or any other cylinder in place of a CNG cylinder. It is unsafe and unlawful.
- It is advisable to have insurance coverage of the CNG kit along with the vehicle / accessories.
- Always, park the vehicle at least 6 meters away from sources of ignition (fire).
- Always refer to the CNG kit supplier?s manual for operating instructions and do not do trouble-shooting yourself, other than that recommended by the manufacturer.
- Be aware of the location and operation of cylinder valve, master shut-off valve and burst disc in the CNG system.
- Ask your mechanic to identify these parts for you. It would be helpful for emergency handling of any CNG leak.
Daily safety checks:
- Make sure that clamps are tight and cylinder fixed properly and safely.
- Confirm that cylinder valve is safe and valve wheel is in place.
- Ensure that gas tubing is intact and supported properly.
- Check for gas leakage from the kit by using soap solution.
In case of gas leakage from CNG kit:
- Check out of the vehicle.
- Do not start the vehicle. Push vehicles to a place out side the station in open Air.
- Stop all activities in the vicinity, which can provide source of ignition, e.g. smoking, use of mobile phone etc.
- Close down the cylinder valve/ master shut-off valve in the CNG system to control the leakage.
- Call CNG kit retrofitter to repair the same.
In case of fire:
- Evacuate the vehicle and surrounding place.
- Take help of fire fighting experts ((101).
- Extinguish the fire with water/fire extinguishers.
- If feasible, close down the cylinder valve/ master shut-off valve in the CNG system to control the gas leakage.