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Recognize Natural Gas Hazards and Stay Safe

Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Natural gas is a popular and efficient fuel for home heating and cooling systems, kitchen appliances, stoves, water heaters and clothes dryers.

Gas safety hazards are rare, but potentially dangerous or even deadly. That’s why it’s important to know how to recognize gas leaks and what to do in hazardous situations.

Gas Leak Indicators

Smell is usually the first indicator of a gas leak. Leaking gas smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. If you’re outside, you may also hear a hissing sound or see blowing soil, bubbling water or dead plants near a gas appliance, meter, or buried distribution main.

What to Do if You Suspect a Leak

Gas can be ignited with the slightest spark or nearby heat or flames. If you’re inside and smell gas, leave the building without operating light switches or telephones. If you’re outside, move away from the area and stay upwind of the gas odor. After you’ve moved to a safe location, call CFU at 268-5340 any time of the day or night. You may alsocall 911.

Beware of Carbon Monoxide

Gas appliances that are not working properly can produce carbon monoxide, an odorless deadly gas. Mild exposure causes flu-like symptoms, and continued exposure leads to rapid heart rate, severe headache, confusion and drowsiness.

If you experience symptoms or if a carbon monoxide detector goes off, move to fresh air immediately. Call 911 and call CFU at 268-5340. Keeping appliances in proper working order is the best way to protect against carbon monoxide. All gas appliances should be inspected annually by a professional.

Pipeline Awareness and Safety

Gas travels to our community through underground transmission pipelines. Markers like the one shown above are often found where these high capacity transmission pipelines meet a street or railroad track. The markers indicate the approximate location of the pipeline. They do not tell you how deep the pipeline is buried.

The gas distribution mains inside the city are not typically identified by pipeline markers. Always call 811 before you start any digging project, so that all underground utility lines can be marked. The call is free and it’s required by law.