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How do you know that your cooking gas is genuine, safe to use?

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Cooking gas
in Kenya is death in a cylinder and only time and chance prevents many from
being killed by explosions.

Human error, both
at manufacture and use of the cylinders, can contribute to increased chances of
deadly explosions.

While many
have died from such explosions, many more have sustained serious injuries that
have incapacitated them for life.

Death in a cylinder

In June this
year, 1 person died while two others seriously injured in a gas explosion in
Mlolongo, Machakos County.

The incident
occurred when some mechanics were offloading gas cylinders from a truck. One of
the gas cylinders exploded during the exercise.

While some
are not lucky in such situation,  in April
2018, a gas cylinder exploded in a house in Mathare North injuring at least 15
people.

The explosion
led to electricity cables catching fire further spreading it to four other
houses on the third floor of the building.

In addition
to the burns that the victims suffered, they also lost property while some were
incapacitated and had to be hospitalised.

2 children in
Narok Town died on the spot after a gas cylinder exploded in their house in July
2018. Seven other family members suffered serious burns in in the incident.

Survivors who
sustained more than 70% degree burns were taken to Kenyatta National Hospital
for specialised treatment.

Witnesses said
that the family had just ordered a new gas cylinder but connections left the
cylinder regulator loose leading to a leak which became fatal.

Gas cylinder manufacturers, suppliers

While the victims
survived, nothing was said about the gas cylinder supplier or the company that
manufactured it.

While it is a high stakes risk, gas explosions are not a game. Manufacturers use the foul smell for ease of detecting gas leaks. Some cases are, however, unavoidable. This is in cases where mistakes by users lead to explosions.

That aside,
how many Kenyans know how to authenticate the cooking gas cylinders they use?

For the
longest time, none of the companies selling LPG have given users a way of
knowing if their products are genuine or not.

The only
solace and guarantee that Kenyans have is in purchasing the cooking gas from ‘authorised
dealers’ or from petrol stations.

While corruption
has permeated every strata of the society, it is no guarantee then that the gas
from these trusted dealers or petrol stations has not been tampered with.

Even when it comes to quantity, the dealers have scales to weigh but the cooking gas only lasts so long.

This is what EPRA, formerly ERC, says when it comes to authenticating you cooking gas cylinder.

Gas cylinder authentication

Changing
tides are coming with the likes of Total Kenya where any LPG cylinder bought
from them can be authenticated.

By providing
customers with a toll free number to call or text, the company is instilling a
sense of security and trust in its cooking gas business.

The canisters
come with a code where the customer scratches and sends it to the toll free
number for authentication.

This comes
even as the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) says that it is
enforcing regulations in the sector over ‘increased public safety concerns’.

In June 2019,
the regulator
announced new rules abolishing the exchange pool while also seeking to ensure that
users are safe
.

With the
regulations, marketers have the responsibility of ensuring that gas cylinders
are safe and will be answerable in case of any incidents.

The marketers
will among others compensate victims of any accidents caused by gas leaks.



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