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Movie Myths and Truths about Propane Tanks

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Hollywood likes to make up all kinds of weird scenarios to fit the moments they are trying to create on-screen. Some of the craziest moments involve propane tanks. Most people are likely to walk away believing that these moments could really happen, thereby perpetuating the fear surrounding the use of propane. Here are some of those movie myths and truths about propane tanks, and why you should know fact from fiction. 

Sharks Can Crush Propane Tanks with Their Jaws

Well, sharks DO have powerful jaws. That is an undeniable fact. However, it is highly unlikely that their serrated teeth, no matter how sharp and lethal, could cut through the thick steel of propane tanks. That said, do not try to kill a shark by stuffing a propane tank into its open jaws. The shark may try to bite down once before shaking it out of its mouth.

You Can Cause Propane Tanks to Explode by Shooting Them

Again, there is some truth to this, but it depends on what you shoot the tanks with. If you use a .22, you will barely dent the tank. If you use a grenade launcher, then it will definitely blow up. Everything else in between is not likely to do much damage unless you weaken the steel tanks to the point where a shell can make a hole into the interior of the tank. You would have to empty several magazines before that would happen. All said and done, you probably should not shoot a gun around propane tanks anyway, and why would you ever want to?

Tanks Will Explode Near a Lighted Match

It is so funny how Hollywood portrays this sometimes. The fact is, you turn on propane on your gas grill and it does not blow up when ignited, right? The only time a tank will blow up is if you have the tank in an enclosed space, with the valve all the way open and you let the gas fill the room before lighting the match. Then the room (as well as the tank) will blow up because the all of the gas in the room will ignite and look for an escape route. The rest of the time, you just want to be cautious around propane tanks in case you have a leaky one, but it is not likely to blow up with a single lit match in the open air.

For more information about these myths and safety precautions you should take while working with propane, check out