In late August, Fort Huachuca Fire Department personnel were dispatched to a building where a child was ill. What made the youth sick was a natural gas leak from a stove in a facility on Fort Huachuca. This leak was ongoing for some time and had been previously reported but not to the proper personnel to locate and correct the problem. It has now been taken care of, and a new stove will replace the defective equipment.
Natural gas gives off an odor that smells like rotten eggs. It also may give off a blowing or hissing sound. Anyone who smells it or thinks there is a leak should leave the area immediately and inform their gas company right away. Thos who don’t know the number should call emergency service, 911. Do not try to locate the source of the gas leak or try to shut off gas valves or appliances.
Do not use any electrical devices, such as light switches, telephones or garage door openers. They could spark and ignite the gas.
Avoid using open flame, matches or lighters or starting vehicles.
Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until your gas company says it is safe.
If the natural gas ignites, let it burn. Do not put out the flame; burning gas will not explode.
Other signs of a natural gas leak include dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area; flames, if a leak has ignited; dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground or bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
Prevent natural gas leaks when installing a natural gas appliance by hiring a professional to do it. Incorrect installation can lead to a slow and undetectable natural gas leak. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the care and use of natural gas appliances. Check the flame on pilot lights and burners. If they have a steady blue flame, they are operating correctly. Never use a gas stove to heat a home or other building or for anything besides cooking.
Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in a home or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals. This is usually a free service.
Keep areas around all gas appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow. Natural gas can build up in the air if it is not able to circulate out through vents.
Store chemicals and flammable materials away from gas appliances.
Always make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.
Keep children away from natural gas appliances, and teach them natural gas safety.
Following these simple steps can help residents and business owners avoid a potential tragedy.