Smelling gas leaks only triggers panic if you are not well informed on how to deal with the situation. Utmost precaution is the best defence in urgent situations like gas leaks.
Everybody in the household including children who are old enough to understand basic safety measures should be informed of the ABC’s about propane or LPG.
Manufacturers of propane have deliberately added chemical compounds that have an intense odour, so that gas leaks can be easily detected by smell.
When you smell gas at home.
Keep your composure and remain calm.
If you are the one in charged, act swiftly and with composure. If you will show any signs of fear – everybody else within the vicinity will be affected and it will lead to mass hysteria – which does not help make the situation better. Give instructions as normally as possible.
If you can do the crucial things by yourself, do it at once without raising any alarm bells. Keep your senses clear and as calm as possible. If there are older people, kids, or babies around, give them enough assurance while setting them to move swiftly to safety.
Put out flames and do not ignite sparks.
Remind everybody not to operate or turn on any electrical switches or gadgets. A simple clicking of an electrical switch can trigger an explosion. Appliances, telephones, cellular phones and other gadgets might produce sparks also, so make sure to inform everyone to refrain from using them. Even if it is dark inside, never ever commit the mistake of lighting up your house lights or a match.
Shut off the gas meter and seek professional assistance.
Always take prior time to know the locations of your gas meters, electrical breakers and main switches. If you don’t know where these are, quickly go to a safe place where you can call your gas supplier, an emergency plumber, or electrician to help you locate your gas meter immediately.
Once you have contacted them, ask for further professional assistance. Do not attempt to fix the leak by yourself especially in cases when the smell continues despite shutting off the meter.
Ventilate the area and evacuate if needed.
Open the windows and doors to have proper air circulation to dissipate the leak immediately. Let fresh air in to let the gas leak out quickly. If there is a heavy seep out, evacuation might be deemed necessary. Leave the area as soon as possible and get everyone to safety.
Get out of the area where the leak has spread – especially if the smell becomes so overpowering. Always remember to conduct the evacuation calmly and orderly as possible. Let your neighbours or nearby offices who might be affected, know about the leak and wait for help outside the premises. There’s nothing you can do inside – so its best to resist trying any experiments if you do not have a proper game plan in mind.
Be sure that everything is clear before going back to the area.
Unless your professional plumber, electrician or repair technician tells you that the area is clear, do not attempt to go back inside. You can only go back inside once full safety is re-instated. Ensure that your technician checks your entire system before re-using them. Consider replacing your old pipes and have your plumber check the links to reduce the chances of leaks and prevent more serious incidents like fire.
Usually leaks are not immediately detected unless the strength of the leak is confined to a closed are thereby making it heavier and bigger – until you identify the smell. Make it a routine to inspect your pipes to prevent unfortunate incidences.
Always have a contingency plan prepared for cases of gas leaks and fire. Some preparation and planning can avoid untoward accidents and will make a big difference in ensuring the safety and security of your family and property.