Responding to Natural Gas Emergencies
In addition to preventing ignition, there are certain procedures you should follow when responding to any natural gas emergency.
- When called for a gas leak or fire or if you smell gas at an incident scene, assume there’s a danger.
- Contact NIPSCO and wait for them to arrive. Call immediately whether you know that natural gas is present or just suspect it.
- Provide the best possible directions to the location. As simple as it sounds, giving utility personnel intersections, landmarks, and specific buildings will help get them on site sooner.
- Evacuate the area, but be sure to knock on doors. Don’t ring doorbells. In residential areas, one house in every direction is the recommended minimum radius. Be alert for migrating gas and evacuate accordingly. Always consult your incident commander for specific instructions.
- Park emergency vehicles away and upwind from the area when natural gas may be present.
- Do not park over manholes and storm drains. Natural gas can collect in these spaces and explode.
- Never attempt to shut off natural gas valves or vents. Only NIPSCO personnel should operate valves or vents.
- First responders, only in dire emergencies, may turn off gas at meters or appliance supply lines only. Do so only if you can access them safely.
- A 1/4 turn to the right will turn off a meter. These shut-offs may be hand operated or you may need a wrench. Gas meters are open when parallel to the pipe and closed when perpendicular to the pipe. Don’t mistake other valves (such as grease valves) for the meter shut-off.
- Use the same procedure for shutting off gas service at an appliance supply line.
- Tie and label the meter or appliance supply line to let others know it has been shut off.
- Never attempt to turn gas service back on. Only NIPSCO personnel may restore gas service.