How to Handle a Natural Gas Leak
Natural gas is one of the safest ways of providing energy to homes and businesses. Incidents are relatively rare, but they do occur from time to time. If you are prepared, you can quickly identify a gas leak and deal with it before it has time to become a gas fire. Here’s how to recognize a problem in Gardner, KS, and what to do once you smell natural gas.
Incidents Are Rare but Can Be Extremely Destructive
Statistics on overall total gas explosions and fires are difficult to come by, probably because they are so isolated. However, the year 2009 is likely about average, with
- 158 total natural gas distribution incidents.
- 10 deaths.
- About 50 injuries.
- Around $32 million in property damage.
This may seem troubling, but compared to coal or oil in deaths per unit of energy, natural gas is substantially safer than either. Still, in one recent incident, a contractor in Massachusetts caused a natural gas overpressure, causing up to 70 fires, numerous explosions and 39 homes damaged or destroyed. At least 25 people were injured and one was killed, so knowing what to do in case of a leak is very important.
What to Do if You Smell Natural Gas
First, do not turn on or off any lights or other electrical items – one spark can cause a gas fire! Grab a flashlight or use your cellphone for light if you need it.
Natural gas has a distinctive, “rotten egg” odorant added to it so that you immediately will recognize a leak. A hissing noise will also be possible when you are very near the leak itself. If it’s safe, check your stove; sometimes the gas can be turned on accidentally. Open all doors and windows and get outside fast! If you know where your meter is, turn off the gas and notify the authorities as soon as possible.
If you do have a gas fire, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to help you pay for fire damage cleanup. Hopefully, if you’ve followed the steps above, you’ll avoid any serious repercussions and simply deal with fixing the leak.