What to Do If You Smell Gas
27 March 2018
Natural gas is typically scentless and if it remained so, would be practically impossible for us to detect. However, due to its dangerous and reactive nature, the smell, similar to rotting eggs, is added in order for our noses to be able to detect it quickly, as soon as there’s a leak. If you think you smell gas anywhere, it’s vital that you call the gas emergency services straight away. Here are other steps you can take if you smell gas in the home or elsewhere.
If you smell gas while you’re at home, in addition to calling the gas emergency services, you should open all your doors and windows to ensure the area is properly ventilated. Don’t cause any sparks, for example, don’t smoke, switch on your gas hob, or switch on or off any plug sockets.
If you feel more comfortable, wait outside the property until the emergency boiler service gets there. If you live in an apartment, you may want to inform any neighbours so they can take action accordingly, as they may also feel more comfortable evacuating the property. Hopefully the leak isn’t too serious and boiler repair servicing will rectify the problem.
To help prevent any gas leaks in the home, make sure your boiler installation is carried out by a trained professional who is registered with the Gas Safe register. Also, ensure you have regular gas safety inspections and obtain a gas safety certificate, especially if you rent the property to others so they know it’s safe.
After the boiler repair service has completed their work, make sure you carry on ventilating the property until the smell has disappeared. The gas can be highly explosive as well as unpleasant to smell, so make sure you still don’t light up a cigarette or switch on any plug sockets until the air has cleared to avoid sparks, which could trigger an explosion.
In the street
If you smell gas very strongly in the street, call the gas emergency services. Tell them the address or exact location of where you are, whether there are other people affected, and how many. You also need to let them know if there are any special requirements when it comes to reaching the location. This is true of any call to the gas emergency services, for example, if the smell if coming from a basement or hard-to-reach area. The services should take no more than two hours to reach the location if the gas leak is controlled i.e. a gas valve has been turned off. If the potential link is uncontrolled, the emergency services should be there within an hour.
Try to locate exactly where the smell is coming from. If it’s from a house, try knocking on the door to see if anyone’s home. The majority of gas leaks come from within the home, so the likelihood of it being in a neighbouring property is high. Wait for the emergency services to arrive so you can help them locate where the gas leak, if there is one, may be.
In a public building
If you smell gas in a public building, try to find someone in charge before calling the emergency services, as they may already be aware of the leak and be in the process of getting it fixed by plumbers. Only if you’re completely unable to find someone in charge should you call the gas emergency services. To help ventilate the building, you may want to open some windows if you can and some doors.