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Here it is, in a nutshell:

1. Propane (and large container MAPP) needs to be kept outdoors, or at least moved outdoors when you finish a session. There are quick-disconnect fittings available from your friendly neighborhood welding supply store that makes this easy. Propane is heavier than air so it
layers out next to the floor if you have a leak, and the next time you turn on a light or light a torch, BOOM!! Some glass shops have a channel cut into the floor to the outdoors so that the propane can flow to the outside.

2. Oxygen MAY be kept inside, but it is not recommended. There is no actual danger of explosion of the oxygen itself, however it is a potent accelerator if there should be a burning source*. Where possible - consider tanks OUTDOORS.
Regardless of placement, the tank must be chained or otherwise fastened securely to something solid so that there is no chance of it falling over. If an O2 tank falls and the valve assembly gets knocked off the tank takes off like a rocket and can do substantial damage.
- The corollary to this is that you never move your O2 tank around unless you
screw the valve cover on securely.
- Never use any oil or grease on or around your O2,regulators, valves or other fittings. The combination of O2 and oil/grease causes spontaneous combustion. Do not use hoses for oxygen lines that are not properly rated. DO NOT use hoses that have been used for compressed air or other gases. (compressor lines may contain oil that you are unaware of from the compressor)
- POST a NO Smoking/Open Flame sign as recommended/required by your local fire marshall.

*(NOTE: James Kervin's book does recommend against Oxygen tanks indoors - on basic safety principles. If you have a flame operated pilot light furnace or hot water heater- you might want to reconsider the oxygen tank in the area - a leaky tank could lead to a problem if combined with gas from the device and a temporary outage - the relight might be accelerated by the oxygen atmosphere and cause an explosion.)

3. Check all connections for leaks with a soapy solution (look for bubbles.)

4. With these reasonable precautions you will be able to use your tanks safely.

When you light your torch, the rule is, "POOP". Propane on first, then the O2. When you shut it off, O2 off first, then propane.


I think Henry Halem coined the term, "POOP".


Provide at least one fire extinguisher in your work area. It is HIGHLY recommended that you get one that is classified, 3-A:40-B:C
These are larger than the ones suggested for use in a kitchen or automobile. They are generally available at larger hardware stores.
Think fire safety. Remove all unnecessary flammable materials from your work area. Remember when heated too fast, glass canes tend to pop hot pieces all over the place. A small hot piece of glass can easily ignite flammable materials.

Now let me leave you with a sobering piece of advice I received from a Fire Lieutenant at work. He advised, that in an enclosed shop situation, you provide one extinguisher at the door leading to the area and a second extinguisher at your workstation. The first is to aid you in responding to a fire from the outside. The second is to help you fight your way back out of the room. The implication is clear. I have two extinguishers in my shop.

Just a reminder - clothing burns!! If you do glasswork - wear 100 percent cotton. Cotton does not sustain a flame for long without a direct flame contact, and it does not melt and leave a nasty residue on your body when it burns! If your clothing catches fire - remember what they taught you in gradeschool.. STOP - do not run. DROP to the ground, and roll to smother the flames. LARGE GLASS SHOPS should strongly consider owning a "fire blanket" that is mounted to a wall. Small shops can improvise with an old fashioned, army-surplus heavy green wool blanket. Throw the blanket over the person and push them to the ground and smother the flames. If working alone - roll the blanket around you. Anytime you have had any part of your body on fire - you should see a doctor!

Courtesy of: John in Indy (, Roger Peterson( and
Cheryl (