Suspecting a gas leak is a frightening experience, and any suspicions of one, whether natural gas, carbon monoxide, or another type of gas, should be taken very seriously.
Knowing how to respond to a gas leak can mean the difference between life and death. Find out exactly how to deal with a gas leak in 5 simple steps, and learn what you should do after a gas leak occurs.
Deal with a Gas Leak in 5 Steps
Knowing what to do with a gas leak is crucial to mitigating the situation as fast as possible and avoiding any unpleasant symptoms. Remain calm and follow these tips.
1. Evacuate children, elderly, and pets
Children should be sent outside immediately, as well as elderly and those with existing health issues. Pets should also be taken outside. If the weather is bad, arrange for everyone to stay with relatives, neighbors, or friends while the property is assessed.
2. Open all the windows in the property
Open windows throughout the entire property, leaving some doors open as well to improve airflow and encourage oxygen circulation. This does present risks for home security, so make sure security cameras are viewing vulnerable areas and motion detection push notifications are turned on.
3. Turn off the gas at the mains
Even if the stovetop or gas oven is on, gas must be turned off immediately. If the leak is coming from a propane canister, do not approach it.
Likewise, do not flip any switches or touch any electrical devices. An electrical spark can easily ignite gas.
4. Call 911 or the gas service provider
From a safe location outside, call the gas provider, or if an explosion or fire has broken out, call 911.
5. Re-enter the property after confirmation from a professional
Do not go back inside the property until the professional that is sent to assess it has given the all-clear.
What To Do After a Gas Leak
The professional who comes to assess your property should give you a full run-down on what to do in the immediate aftermath of the gas leak. This will be different depending on the cause and type of gas leak.
After Minimal Exposure to Gas
- Inform the professional assessing the property if exhibiting symptoms like headaches.
- They can advise on whether to call emergency services, visit the emergency department, or book a doctor’s appointment.
- In most cases, treatment is not necessary. Stay out of the property until instructed to return, and take plenty of water. Painkillers can help alleviate headache and fatigue. If pregnant, seek medical advice immediately.
After Prolonged Exposure to Gas
- Carbon monoxide poisoning will be treated immediately. Acting fast will prevent complications that could prove fatal. Insist on having a medic take blood if vomiting, fainting, nosebleeds, or respiratory problems have occurred.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning is determined via a rapid blood test. Once CO levels are above 70 parts per million, symptoms will be severe enough to be classed as poisoning.
- If the blood test indicates gas poisoning, hospital will be necessary. There, pure oxygen will be administered to remove excessive CO from the blood.
- Oxygen will be given through either a mask or ventilator for moderate poisoning.
- An oxygen chamber may be necessary for those exhibiting signs of severe poisoning, as well as for those that are pregnant.
Freon, Fridge or AC Unit Gas Leak
- Check for a product warranty or receipt.
- Inform the company immediately before throwing out the unit.
- Have a professional repair the product causing the leak. Turn it off until they arrive.
How to Detox from Natural Gas Poisoning?
While natural gas exposure can make a person unwell and, with enough of it, asphyxiate, it isn’t ‘poisonous’ like CO is. As such, physical symptoms of ‘natural gas poisoning’ don’t exist, nor is there any specific natural gas poisoning treatment, because it is non-toxic.
Symptoms of exposure to natural gas will, however, be similar to CO exposure; at best a headache, at worst suffocation.
Once the property is sufficiently aired out and occupants have been instructed to return, ensure plenty of water and keep windows open to improve airflow. Plants, if they haven’t died during the incident, are great to have around to purify the air.
While there is no such thing as natural gas poisoning, natural gas can make a person very unwell following exposure, and even asphyxiate them if the composition of air is altered significantly. Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous because it is poisonous.
Ultimately, how to deal with a gas leak of any kind is similar: shut off the gas supply, open all windows and doors, evacuate everyone from the building, and call the gas supplier or 911 immediately.
Recommended reading: 8 Common Gas Leak Symptoms You Need To Know Now