Recognize Natural Gas Hazards and Stay Safe
on Friday, August 27, 2021
Natural gas is an efficient and low-cost option, making it a popular choice for home appliances.
Although gas safety hazards are rare, they can be potentially dangerous or even deadly which is why it is important to know how to recognize gas leaks and what to do in hazardous situations.
How to Know if There is a Leak
Smell will usually be the first indicator of a gas leak. Utility companies like CFU odorize natural gas to smell like rotten eggs so that a gas leak may be easily detectable. If you are 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
If you are inside and believe you may smell natural gas, it is very important that you leave the building immediately and do not turn on lights, use a flashlight, start a car or use your cell phone.
The slightest spark or nearby heat could cause gas to be ignited.
If you are outside, move away from the area and stay upwind of the odor. Only once you are in a safe location, call CFU at 319-268-5340. Someone is available to answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, deadly gas and can be produced by gas appliances that are not properly working. Mild exposure can cause flu-like symptoms. Continued exposure leads to rapid heart rate, a severe headache, confusion and drowsiness or even death.
Because carbon monoxide has no color, odor, or taste, it is important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home and have all appliances serviced by a qualified technician annually.
If you experience symptoms or if a carbon monoxide detector goes off, move immediately to fresh air and call 911 and CFU at 319-268-5340.
Pipeline Awareness and Safety
Gas travels to our community through underground transmission pipelines. Markers like the one shown here are often found where these high capacity transmission pipelines meet a street or railroad track. The markers indicate the approximate location of the pipeline, not how deep the pipeline is buried.
The gas distribution mains inside the city are not typically identified by pipeline markers.
The most frequent cause of gas leaks is accidental damage from excavation by citizens or construction workers. To help prevent this type of damage, Iowa law requires everyone to contact Iowa One-Call at least 48 hours before digging on any property for any reason.
You can contact Iowa One-Call toll-free at 811 or online at IowaOneCall.com. Iowa One-Call will arrange to have the location of all underground services marked before excavation takes place at no cost to the customer.