The Gas Works News Blog

Gas Leak Protocol - What to do When There is a Gas Leak in Your Home

Every household that makes use of gas appliances should know what the natural gas leak emergency procedures are.

Gas leaks inside the home or workplace can cause major health and safety risks but, these can be avoided if everyone in the building responds correctly to a gas leak emergency.

gas leak protocol

Gas Leak Detection & Gas Leak Protocol

Whether you are making use of a gas stove, heater, fireplace or geyser, there is always a risk that one of these appliances will begin to leak.

This is especially true when the appliance has not been installed according to SANS guidelines, or if it has not been properly repaired or maintained.

The first step to responding to a gas leak is to detect it and this can be done in the following ways:

  • Smell – LPG is naturally odourless. Therefore, manufacturers add a substance to it that gives it a sulphur-like smell. If you smell something that smells like rotten eggs, there is likely a gas leak somewhere in the house
  • Sight – Depending on where your gas cylinder is, you can look for dirt blowing in the air in an unusual manner, bubbles in standing water or unusually discoloured grass or plants around the pipeline
  • Sound – A gas leak can create a hissing, whistling or roaring sound depending on the size of the leak

A gas leak can also make you and anyone else in the area feel sick. The following are ways that the body responds to a gas leak:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular breathing

Should you be experiencing these symptoms inside the house but you feel better when you are outside in fresh air, then you may have a gas leak.

It’s also important to remember that these symptoms overlap with those of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.

If you have any of these symptoms or if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, please seek medical attention immediately.

Natural Gas Leak Emergency Procedure

The most important thing to do before following gas leak protocol is to stay calm. If you panic, you may not remember all the steps to take to ensure you and others in the area are safe and unharmed.

Below are the steps that should be taken in the event of a gas leak.

Don’t Switch Anything Off or On

Do not switch any lights on or off, don’t plug in any appliances, don’t use a flashlight and don’t ignite any sort of flame whatsoever. If your gas stove is on at this time, make sure to switch it off immediately.

Ventilate

Be sure to open all the windows and external doors that you can and as quickly as possible without putting yourself in harm’s way. This will help the gas escape from enclosed areas.

Avoid using a fan to assist with ventilation as this may require plugging in or switching on the appliance.

Turn off the Meter

If you are able to access the meter easily and safely, turn it so it’s at 90° to the gas pip in order to close the valve.

It’s extremely important for everyone in the home to know where the gas meter is and how to switch it off without putting themselves in a dangerous situation.

Evacuate

Move everyone out of the building as quickly as possible, ensuring they keep a distance of at least 100 meters from the building until professional help has arrived.

Call for Help

Once the building has been evacuated and everybody is safe, it’s time to call for professional help.

If you were able to switch off the meter and the gas stop smells, then you will need to call a registered gas installer to repair the issue as soon as possible.

If the gas smell continues after you have closed the valve, call the gas emergency centre immediately on 0800212260.

Never try and fix a gas leak by yourself, unless you are a trained and qualified gas installer or technician.

If you feel that there is a high risk of fire, you may want to inform the fire brigade of your situation so that they can be on standby. It should not be necessary to call them if there is a minor leak with little to no fire risk.

Wait for the Go Ahead

The only person that should be allowed to go back into the building should be the gas technician or engineer.

Nobody should be allowed to enter the building until given the go ahead by a professional.

Preventing a Gas Leak

The most effective way to prevent a gas leak is to ensure that all your gas appliances are installed, repaired and maintained by a trained and qualified gas installer or technician.

In addition, always make sure that you are issued with a certificate of compliance for your gas installation; without this, you may not be able to claim from insurance for any loss or damage caused by a gas leak.

The Gas Works – Gas Installations Cape Town

Our qualified gas installers ensure that all safety guidelines are adhered to when installing gas appliances in both commercial and residential environments.

This plays a major role in preventing gas leaks or other gas leak emergencies. Should you suspect that your gas appliance is leaking, please be sure to follow the gas leak protocol explained in this article.

If you suspect that your gas appliance is faulty or installed incorrectly, or if it needs repair or routine maintenance, please feel free to contact our gas installers in Cape Town.

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