You’ve made the smart choice in installing a natural gas detector and you’re set. So, what happens when that alarm actually goes off? Like any other potential emergency, it’s advised that you have a plan in place in case of a natural gas leak. Write down what you would do, who you would call and how you would stay safe in this situation. Make sure your entire family knows the emergency plan and where to find it. In addition to having a plan, you should have your natural gas sources checked regularly—Federal Safety Standards require gas companies to complete inspections—so make sure you’re taking them up on that.

Here are the “dos and don’ts” in case your natural gas alarm goes off.

  • DON’T: Don’t panic! These detectors are made to go off before dangerous amounts of gas are built up. They are rated according to what they call “Lower Explosive Limit” or “LEL.” This phrase refers to the percentage of gas that has built up in your home. The detector is meant to go off before it reaches a dangerous percentage so if it’s going off, you should still be safe.
  • DO: Turn all gas appliances off and put out any fire that may be burning in your home—candles, fireplaces, cigarettes and the like.
  • DON’T: Don’t touch or use any electrical equipment, including light switches. If necessary, you will need to use battery-operated flashlights. This being said, you shouldn’t unplug any appliances—natural gas is highly flammable and you wouldn’t want to start a fire in your home.
  • DO: Open all of your windows and doors to let the gas disperse.

If you have done everything you can do and your alarm is still going off, then you should leave your house and unplug the main gas line. Next, you will need to call your fire department and your gas company. It is helpful if you have had these numbers in your cell phone or in your car so you don’t have to search your house during an emergency.

If you have done everything above and your alarm turns off, it’s still a good idea to get your house inspected to find the leak.

Check out our other Walton Gas blogs to learn more about natural gas!