The Last Resort: Vent and Burn

Transport Canada and its partners conducted experiments from 2004 to 2006 to further develop an emergency response measure, "the vent and burn technique" for highway tanks, by using commercially available shaped explosive charges. This video presents the results of these experiments. It was produced with the goal to increase awareness of the vent and burn procedure among emergency responders who may be called to an accident scene where other removal techniques cannot be used.

Simply put, 'Vent and Burn' is a controlled burn of the contents of a liquefied petroleum gas (lpg) tank truck, rail car or storage tank when no other reasonable options exist. It is a technique of last resort, used to:

  • prevent a catastrophic tank failure;
  • avoid uncontrolled release of propane into the environment; and
  • reduce the time required to handle such an emergency.

The video demonstrates, but does not endorse the vent and burn procedure. It is very dangerous and may not produce results as planned. It should be used only by persons highly trained to assess risk, to assess tank damage and to use explosives.

For more information or to order a DVD, please contact the Safety Research and Analysis Branch, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directorate, Transport Canada at