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Safety · General Public

Did you know…

  • Over 50 percent of all American households rely on natural gas to meet their energy needs.
  • About 13 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States is used by businesses and public facilities.
  • Every day, Americans use nearly 62 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

With statistics like these, there’s no doubt that natural gas is a crucial energy source for our country. Whether you use this clean-burning, cost-efficient fuel in your home or business—or both—it’s important to learn as much as you can about its proper use. (For a general overview of natural gas, including its origins and environmental impact, click here.)

Here are some simple natural gas DOs and DON’Ts for your home and business:

DO…

  • Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home and/or business inspected every year by qualified industry professionals.
  • Keep the areas around all gas appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to permit proper airflow.
  • Keep flammables and combustible material away from appliances.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.
  • Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception; their flame is usually yellow.)
  • Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home. Business owners should follow local fire code regulations.
  • Review natural gas safety regularly with ALL family members and/or employees.
  • Install and properly maintain carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home.
  • Include your natural gas company’s emergency contact information on your list of important phone numbers (e.g. fire, police, physicians, etc.) and/or in your company manual.

DON’T…

  • Ever let children play with or near natural gas appliances or pipes, even the knobs on the oven or stovetop.
  • Attach or hang anything from your natural gas meter set.
  • Use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home), under any circumstances.
  • Move or install a gas appliance or change the connector in any way without professional assistance.
  • Use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.
  • Install a gas appliance yourself, unless you are a qualified contractor. Instead, you should always seek professional assistance.
  • Ever store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.

Call before you dig
Unauthorized digging is one the leading causes of natural gas leaks. By law, you must call the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) at 8-1-1, at least two working days before digging for any landscape or construction project on your property. Keep in mind that lines have been hit digging fence post holes, anchoring supports for decks and swing sets, planting trees, removing tree roots and driving landscaping stakes into the ground. By not calling, you are breaking the law and risking injury to yourself, your family and your fellow community members.

If you ever suspect unauthorized digging, contact your natural gas company and 9-1-1. For more on safe digging, click here.

Mind your meter
Before natural gas enters your home or business, it passes through a gas meter (located just outside your home or business). On its face, you’ll find a row of four dials and two additional dials underneath those four.

To assure uninterrupted service, check the meter on a regular basis and gently clear away any ice buildup or snow with a broom (do NOT use a shovel). If your gas meter becomes encased with ice, contact your local natural gas company for assistance.

When you’re out and about…be aware
Even when you’re strolling around town, it’s helpful to remember the following signs of a natural gas leak:

Use your senses of sight, hearing and smell, along with any of the following signs, to alert yourself to the presence of a gas leak:

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Smell
  • The distinctive odor of natural gas
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Look
  • A damaged connection to a gas appliance
  • Dirt or water being blown into the air
  • Dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise moist area) over or near pipeline areas
  • A fire or explosion near a pipeline
  • Exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster
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Listen
  • An unusual sound, such as a hissing, whistling, or roaring sound near a gas line or appliance

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It makes sense to trust your senses.

If you recognize even one of the above signs, walk away, right away. Don’t try to stop or repair the leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as a cell phone. When you’re clear of the area, call your local natural gas company and 9-1-1 for emergency response.

 

What to do if you suspect a gas leak

If you smell a natural gas odor, hear the hissing sound of gas escaping or see other signs of a leak:

  • REMAIN calm.
  • DON'T light a match, candle or cigarette.
  • DON'T turn electrical appliances or lights on or off or use any device that could cause a spark.
  • IMMEDIATELY EVACUATE the area, and from a safe location, call your local natural gas company and 9-1-1 for emergency response.