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Natural Gas Leak Signs, Symptoms and Emergency Safety Steps

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Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

For a suspected natural gas leak call SDG&E at
(800) 411-7343.

Natural gas leaks are uncommon but they do happen. Their results can be terrifying. In October 2015, a hatch from a natural gas storage system blew off in Los Angeles, causing the evacuation of 1,700 homes for almost four months in what has been called the worst accidental discharge of greenhouse gases in U.S. history. Luckily, it appears there were few injuries.

Gas Leak signs from Richmond, VA Public Works

Look for these gas leak signs, image courtesy of Richmond, VA Department of Public Utilities.

According to SDG&E, signs of natural gas leaking from a pipeline could include any of the following:

  • Dirt or water being blown in the air from one spot
  • A patch of dead vegetation in an otherwise healthy growth area
  • A fire or explosion
  • Exposed pipeline after a disaster
  • A hissing or roaring sound
  • The “rotten egg” smell that is added to natural gas to facilitate detection

Symptoms

The National Institutes of Health states that exposure to low levels of natural gas is not harmful, however a high level natural gas leak can lead to reduced oxygen causing:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Irregular breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

In Case of Emergency

A gas leak, especially from a pipeline or gas meter, could cause a fire, explosion, property damage, or serious injury. Follow these guidelines if you encounter a leaking gas pipe or meter:

  • EVACUATE the area on foot
    • Do not start a car engine in the area as this could cause a spark and subsequent explosion
    • Do not light a match, candle, or cigarette
    • Do not turn electrical devices on or off, including light switches
    • Do not attempt to fix the leak
  • After leaving the area:
    • Call SDG&E at (800) 411-7343 any time
    • Call 911

Follow all instructions of emergency personnel. Do not return to your home until emergency personnel and SDG&E say it is safe.