You’re relaxing in your sitting room and suddenly, a pungent odor hits your nose. Or, you’ve just arrived at your home and after opening the door, you smell something out of the ordinary. What’s that smell? You may have a gas leak in your home.
Gas is colorless, odorless, and highly combustible. The characteristic odor is added by gas companies deliberately to help you detect leaks when they happen. Now that you have a gas leak in your home, what should you do?
Since we’ve already mentioned that gas is highly combustible, it’s crucial you note that the steps you take can help you stay alive and prevent damage to your property. Let’s look at what to do if you have a gas leak.
First Things First, Relax
When you detect a gas leak in your home, it’s easy to panic and do something risky. Maybe a friend’s or relative’s house exploded because of a gas leak, and now it has happened to you. You panic, thinking that your home is headed the same way. However, what you need to know is their explosion may have occurred because they didn’t follow the necessary steps.
Relax and keep calm. This way, you will be able to think straight when it comes to handling the situation. The first action should be to keep clear of the house and call the emergency services (see further information on emergencies below).
Taking action for minor leaks and ventilating your house if safe to do so
The next step is opening your doors and windows. This will allow the gas to leave, and it won’t continue building up in your interiors. Also, it prevents asphyxiation, especially if you live in a confined space. Open your windows and doors to let the gas dissipate and allow fresh air to come in.
Turn Off Any Gas Appliance and Don’t Use an Electric Appliance
If you suspect that the gas has just started leaking, rush to your kitchen and turn off any gas appliance. If you were cooking something, turn off the fire. As you turn these appliances off, don’t operate any electric appliance. Do not turn on or off the lights and don’t operate your mobile phone inside the house. Wait until you’re safely out of your home so that you can call for assistance. All the gas needs to cause an explosion is a small spark, and you may end up with an uncontrollable fire. Therefore, don’t operate the lights or any other electrical appliance, don’t use a lighter, and don’t strike a match.
If you can safely turn of any pilot light on appliances or hot water systems then do so.
Can You Identify the Source of the Leak?
Firstly keep your family a safe distance away from the house. Trying to find the leak source may be recommended here depending on the situation. For instance, if the leak is coming from the kitchen, it may be that you or another person didn’t turn it off correctly. You can now turn it off correctly to prevent the gas from continuing to leak as you think of contacting a gas professional.
However, if the gas is coming from a basement or cellar, get out as fast as you can. These places are often ventilated and a broken gas pipe may be causing the leak.
Evacuate if Necessary and Alert Your Neighbors
If you suspect that you have a significant leak, especially from the basement or cellar, get out of your home as quickly as you can. Assemble all the members of your family and evacuate the home. After evacuating, call the emergency services on triple zero or your local emergency number. Then go to your nearest neighbors’ houses and inform them about your leak.
They will know whether they’ve been affected and take precautionary measures as well. And, don’t go inside your home until it has been cleared by the emergency services. Even if you’ve stayed outside for several hours and suspect the gas has already cleared, don’t risk going inside.
Call Emergency Gas or emergency Services
Now that you’re out of your home, it’s safe to use your phone and call for professional help. If you suspect the gas is coming from a place before the meter or on the gas meter, contact the emergency services via Triple Zero and then the gas company if it is safe to do so.
If you suspect the gas is coming from a place after the meter, for instance on the pipe connecting to the appliance or on the appliance itself, turn of the external gas supply and get the help of a licensed gas fitter. If your unsure do not hesitate to contact the emergency services on Triple zero or your local emergency number. They will solve the problem to make your home safe again. They will also tell you when it’s safe to go back inside.
These are things you should do if you have a gas leak in your home. Remember, how well you handle the situation can be the difference between a safe home and a huge explosion. Therefore, don’t panic and act accordingly.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided as a guide only. The emergency services and/or gas utility in your state should always be consulted when there is a gas leak. Make the phone call in a clean air area away from the gas leak.