GENERAL GAS SAFETY
Every day, over two million miles of underground pipeline safely transports and distributes natural gas to more than 68 million homes and businesses like yours. Carrying one of the safest, most reliable and environmentally friendly fuels in use today, this pipeline system is buried underground not only for safety reasons, but also to protect it from the weather and ensure uninterrupted service.
Propane, another extremely safe, environmentally friendly fuel source, is transported through a network of high-strength steel delivery trucks, trains and underground pipelines.
Both natural gas and propane’s transportation network is closely monitored and regulated by the United States Department of Transportation.
Propane and natural gas companies work hard to protect their pipelines and underground storage tanks from natural hazards and other damage from outside forces. In addition to installing highly visible pipeline markers, many natural gas companies perform aerial, ground and marine inspections; conduct annual leak surveys; and install sophisticated leak detection equipment. To safeguard propane use, the National Propane Gas Association and the Propane Education & Research Council sponsor a comprehensive safety inspection program and a Certified Employee Training Program for propane handlers and technicians.
To build awareness, natural gas and propane companies also offer public education programs, meet regularly with public and emergency officials and conduct training sessions for excavating contractors and emergency responders.
While it’s unlikely that a problem could occur, incidents do happen. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn about gas safety.
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for natural gas and propane safety
(Click here for some special gas grill safety tips.)
• Learn all you can about natural gas and propane. The more you know...the more you will be safe.
• Although Sniffy reminds you to “Smell Gas? Act FAST!,” there are actually three ways to detect a gas leak (smell is the most common):
SMELL — To help you SMELL a gas leak, a familiar odor like rotten eggs is added to both natural gas and propane.
SEE — Near a leaking gas pipeline, you might SEE blowing dirt, bubbling water or an unusual area of dead vegetation.
HEAR — A leaking pipeline, appliance, storage tank or cylinder (propane only) might make a hissing sound you can HEAR.
If you ever suspect a gas leak, leave the area immediately. Then, call your local gas company or 911.
• Look for the blue flame on all gas appliances. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception. Their flame is usually yellow.)
• Have all gas and propane appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals.
• Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper airflow.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the care and use of gas and propane appliances and equipment.
• Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.
• Review these natural gas and propane safety tips regularly with ALL family members and coworkers.
• Ever let small children play with or near natural gas or propane appliances, pipes, storage tanks or cylinders, even the knobs on the oven or stovetop.
• Use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (e.g., to heat your home) under any circumstances.
• Move or install a gas or propane appliance or change the connector in any way without professional assistance.
• Use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.
• Ever store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas or propane appliances, cylinders or storage tanks.
Don’t forget to call before you dig!
Planning an excavation or demolition project? By law, you MUST contact Miss Utility of Virginia at least 48 business hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before beginning any type of digging activity. Even if your project seems minor, it’s best to call. Lines have been hit digging holes for fence posts and mailboxes, anchoring supports for decks and swings sets and even planting trees. By not calling, you risk costly property or environmental damage, explosion or fire on your property, power or utility service interruptions, legal problems and injury—or even death.
You can contact Miss Utility of Virginia by phone at 811 or 1-800-552-7001. Notifications of excavation or demolition can also be made online at www.missutilityofvirginia.com. Training is required to use the online system. For more information on safe digging, click here.
IT’S BEST TO BE SAFE: If you smell, see or hear a natural gas or propane leak RIGHT NOW—don’t touch or turn off your computer—leave the area! After you go someplace away from the leak, call your local gas company or 911.
What’s Cookin’: Gas Grill Safety Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for gas (propane) grill safety.
• Use your grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
• Keep the cylinder valve closed when not in use.
• Make sure the gas grill is shut off and cooled and the burner controls are turned off before covering your grill.
• Use and store propane cylinders in an upright, vertical position.
• Ask your propane supplier to check for dents, damage, rust or leaks each time you refill your cylinder.
• Take your cylinder home immediately after filling. Keep your vehicle ventilated with the cylinder valve closed and plugged or capped.
• Smoke while handling a propane cylinder.
• Bring or store your cylinder indoors or in an enclosed space such as a garage.
• Use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
• Allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill.
• Store or transport your cylinder where it could be exposed to high temperatures. (This includes storing spare cylinders under or near your gas grill.)