Natural gas safety basics

Natural gas leaks

  • Indoor leaks. Evacuate the building immediately. Shut off the gas at the appliance’s supply line—or, if you cannot identify the leaking appliance, shut off gas at the meter or service valve only. When you are certain the gas is off and all ignition hazards are eliminated, ventilate by opening windows. Never ventilate while personnel are inside. If a combustible gas indicator (CGI) is available, continue monitoring until the gas company arrives.
  • Outdoor leaks. Evacuate the area immediately. Contact the local natural gas utility immediately to shut off the gas. Never try to operate underground pipeline valves or relief vents.
  • Eliminate ignition hazards. Do not use doorbells, light switches, matches or lighters. Use only intrinsically safe radios and flashlights in the vicinity of a gas leak.

Recognizing gas leaks

There are several indicators of natural gas pipeline leaks:

  • A distinctive, sulfur-like odor*
  • A hissing, whistling or roaring sound
  • Dirt spraying or blowing into the air
  • Continual bubbling in water
  • Vegetation that is dead or dying for no apparent reason
  • A damaged connection to a gas appliance
  • Exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster

*Do NOT attempt to detect a natural gas leak by smell alone. An uncontrollable factor may eliminate or weaken the odor.