Gas Leaks and What to do

Did you know?

Natural gas is odorless and colorless; the rotten eggs smell is added in. Mercaptan, the additive that makes gas smell, contains sulfur. This added component makes it easier to detect gas in the event of a leak. Mercaptan blends well with natural gas and shares properties, such as that fact that it will rise and dissipate with the natural gas.

What to do

In the event of a potential gas leak, it is important to contact the local gas company as soon as possible. If you are currently in the building when you detect a leak, open doors and windows to improve circulation. Exit the building quickly to prevent extended exposure time. Additionally, if you are able to..

If you are working in a commercial building that uses industrial gas burners, lead melters, or anything with an open flame, it is crucial to have an emergency evacuation plan in place.

What not to do

Now that you know what to do in the event of a gas leak, there are a few things you should NOT do. First, if you smell a gas leak before you enter a room or building, do not enter. Additionally, if you see evidence of a gas leak, you should not enter the building. Second, do not smoke, make a spark, or have any open flame. Third, do not turn on any electrical switches, appliances, or lights, as this can cause a spark. Lastly, do not reenter the building until a professional determines it is safe to do so.

Three ways to tell

While gas leaks are known for the strong, pungent smell, there are a couple other ways to detect a leak. Escaping gas can affect nutrients in soil, causing the soil to change color or kill vegetation near a pipeline. It can also cause bubbles in standing water. Lastly, natural gas leaks may make a hissing or high-pitched whistling sound. These are all signs of a gas leak.

There are a few signs and symptoms that may occur is someone is exposed to a gas leak. These can include light-headedness, nausea, eye and throat irritation, headache, and breathing problems. Anyone potentially exposed to a gas leak should seek medical assistance.

Most susceptible to gas leaks

While a gas leak can happen anywhere, there are a few buildings and businesses that are more susceptible to gas leaks. Large warehouses use a high amount of energy, which puts them at a higher risk for leaks. These businesses should have an emergency plan in place and procedures for any accidents that may occur.

How to prepare

Gas leaks can happen at any time, so having an emergency plan in place can save time, prevent injuries, and keep everyone safe. You can also practice your emergency plan through drills to make sure your team knows the proper procedures. Inspecting gas valves regularly can also help prevent leaks from occurring.  

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