Natural gas actually doesn’t have any color or odor to begin with, but because energy firms add the scent of rotten eggs into it during processing, it often smells like it when a gas leak occurs. The choice of scent is deliberate because people tend to be bothered and uneasy with the rotten smell compared to aromatic scents of flowers or fruits. When you do encounter a gas leak at home, in school, or at work, you need to take note of several procedures.
Turn Off All Gas Appliances and Switch Off the Main Valve
First in the list of steps to do in case of a leak is to turn off all gas appliances. Second, check the pipes and rubber tubes by covering them with soap suds. When an air bubble forms, you’ll know where the very tiny hole may be located. Don’t spend too much time doing this assessment. Once you identified where the leak is, call the authorities for professional help.
Before they arrive, however, make sure you’ve opened the doors and windows to help disperse the gas particles. Also, switch off the main valve in a metal box near the gas meter. In case it’s a gate valve, remember to turn the valve clockwise to close it.
Some tipsters say you should close the doors and windows to keep the fumes inside. This advice assumes that you haven’t closed the gate valve or turned off the main supply tap of your gas line yet. The idea is to stop the leak from spreading into your neighbor’s backyard and prevent further damages to property and casualties in case an explosion does occur.
Don’t Turn On the Lights, Strike a Match or Use a Mobile Phone
Striking a match or using a lighter is a definite no-no in the book. A little spark is dangerous when there’s a gas leak. All that natural gas needs is around 5 to 15 percent concentration in the air and “kaboom!” you’re gone. With liquefied gas, concentration ratio is even lower at around 2.5 to 10 percent per metric volume of air in the room. Turning on the lights produces a spark; using a mobile phone also presents a danger with the bit of microwave heat it emits.
Help Others to Safety and Assist the Authorities
When a gas leaks occurs at home, immediately notify your family and evacuate them outside. Check that pets and other animals are secure. Instead of using a built-in elevator or escalator for disabled persons, help them down a flight of stairs. Using these contraptions might trigger a spark unintentionally. When authorities arrive, lead them to the source of the leak and leave. You and your family may be asked to stay away for some time until the gas has dispersed and the place is habitable again.