Indoor Natural Gas Leaks
There are some additional procedures for natural gas leaks that occur indoors.
- Indoor gas leaks can result from malfunctioning gas-fed appliances. If you can identify a specific appliance causing the leak, shut off the gas at the appliance’s supply line. If you cannot identify a specific appliance or when in doubt, use the meter to shut off the gas. Be aware that what appears to be an indoor leak may be the result of gas migrating into the structure. Once service to the structure is off, verify that the leak has been eliminated.
- Do not open windows until you are certain the gas supply has been shut off. Remember that gas concentrations will change as gas dissipates. If ignition sources have not been eliminated, the gas could ignite as it passes through the ignition range, and if gas is still leaking into the space, concentrations can hover within the ignition range, causing prolonged danger.
- Ventilate structures from top to bottom because natural gas is lighter than air and will rise.
- Never ventilate structures while personnel are inside. This includes you. Open windows from outside only. Venting gas can ignite as it passes through the explosive range.
- Carbon monoxide. This deadly gas is not a component of natural gas, but natural gas burning appliances can be a source of carbon monoxide if they operate without adequate ventilation, or if they malfunction or are used improperly.
- Understanding carbon monoxide (CO) leaks can help you recognize possible CO poisoning victims.
- CO has no color, odor, or taste, so its victims often don’t know they are being exposed.
- CO leaks are frequently caused when fuel-burning appliances malfunction or are used without adequate ventilation.
- CO poisoning can look like a common illness but is deadly if untreated. Learn to recognize the symptoms of
- CO poisoning and be alert for them in yourself, your fellow responders, and incident victims. The signs of CO poisoning include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Loss of consciousness
- Lips or skin turn blue
- Get victims outdoors immediately and seek medical attention. The treatment for CO poisoning is exposure to fresh air. In severe cases, pure oxygen is needed.