Natural gas is a major utility. It is used for cooking and keeping warm. Many people have gas appliances installed. Yet there were 41 gas-related explosions being reported in 2020 in the UK, up from 31 similar accidents being reported in 2019.
As a homeowner, you can have all the precautions in place. Get a gas safety certificate cp12 on an annual basis and have your gas appliances checked regularly. While taking these steps is a must, they are not foolproof.
Despite all kinds of precautions in place, a gas leak can still occur. According to the UK Gas Safe Register, 68,000 homes narrowly escaped gas-related accidents in the past year alone.
This indicates just how serious the problem truly is. A gas leak in your kitchen is invisible, silent, and hard to detect. This lack of detectability makes it even more deadly. You may not be able to take the right steps in time to avoid a major accident.
Ways to Detect a Gas Leak
Taking the right steps in the event of a leak is very important. However, you must know how to detect a leak first.
Natural gas is notoriously hard to detect. It is invisible, and if there is a small leak, your sense of smell may not be able to pick up on it. This is because our sense of smell is weak, and we become accustomed to smells over time.
Still, you must remain alert and be on the lookout for a gas leak. Usually, gas leaks have a distinct smell, like rotten eggs. The foul smell is a major signal that something is wrong.
Keep your ears peeled for any hissing sounds as well. A major leak is sure to produce some noise. If you have a carbon monoxide alarm installed, then it will alert you in the case of a leak as well.
Finally, if you and other people in the house start to feel sick, dizzy, or nauseous, suspect the worst and start taking measures assuming that it is a gas leak.
8Gas Safety Things That Can Save Your Life
As scary as a gas leak sounds, acting quickly can help avoid the worst. Rule number one of detecting a gas leak is to be fast. This is true even if you are not completely sure whether there is a leak or not.
Here are the five things you must do instantly if you think there is a gas leak in your kitchen:
1. Get Your Gas Appliances Serviced & Checked By an aGas Safe Registered Engineer
It’s important to get your gas appliances serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. This will help keep them running safely and efficiently, and could also save you money on your energy bills.
2. Install a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can be produced when appliances that burn fuel are not used correctly. It’s important to install a CO alarm in your home and to check it regularly to make sure it’s working. If you think you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide, get out of the house immediately and call the national helpline.
3. Don’t Block Air Vents
Air vents allow fresh air to circulate around your home and help to keep gas appliances working safely and efficiently. Make sure you don’t block them with furniture or other objects.
4. Turn Off the Main Gas Supply
Gas leakage can turn very deadly very quickly. So, turning off the gas from the main supply is the first step you must take.
Cutting the gas from the mains will instantly stop the leak. You can contain the amount of gas that has escaped due to the leak this way.
As a homeowner or tenant, you must know where the gas mains are located and how to turn them off in the case of an emergency.
5. Do Not Use Any Electric Appliance
Once you have cut the gas supply, you need to be careful. There is no telling how much gas is present in the house. This is why any action that may cause a spark is a big no-no.
This includes lighting a matchstick and even turning on the light switch. If you need light, use a flashlight instead.
Doing so prevents a fire from breaking out since natural gas is highly flammable. Once a fire starts, it can become uncontrollable since the air inside the house is concentrated by natural gas.
6. Open Up All Doors and Windows
Since natural gas is, well, gas, it is very mobile. While this can be a bad thing because it means gas can spread quickly, it can be a good thing as well. Opening up doors and windows let the gas escape easily.
Airing out of your house drastically reduces the concentration of gas. This makes the leak less hazardous, especially if you have already turned off the mains.
7. Evacuate the House
Make no mistake; even if you think you have taken all the safety measures mentioned above, you must leave the property. You may think you have successfully aired out the house, but it is still not safe to remain inside.
Get some fresh air. It is better to have other members of the household, especially children, pets, and the elderly, leave while you take the steps mentioned above.
Direct the others to go outside and remain at a safe distance while you can turn off the main supply and open up all the doors and windows.
8. Contact Emergency Services
It is a smart idea to have emergency numbers on speed dial. You need to call help fast in such situations. Speed dial also means that even a child can call for help if need be.
The gas emergency number for the UK is 0800-111-999 and should be called immediately if you suspect a leak. Leaving the situation up to the professionals is the best option.
To save time, people who have already evacuated should call the emergency number for help while you take the other steps already mentioned.
Conclusion – Practice Gas Safety
Gas as a utility is integral to comfortable living. It, however, does require a fair amount of caution. Gas leakage incidents may be a rarity, but they are not an impossibility. Keeping your home and your loved ones safe is very important.
You must familiarize yourself and other members of the house with gas safety rules. In the case of a gas leak, follow the procedure mentioned above.
Being careful around gas can prove lifesaving; that is why you must always proceed with caution. Teach children gas safety guidelines.
It also doesn’t hurt to hold a drill so you can practice what to do if there is a gas leak. It is always best to be prepared.
Finally, it is important to be quick but also to remain level-headed. Do not let the nerves get to you since this can cause you to fumble and make mistakes.