COPIED AND PASTED from my Utility Company and further down there is MORE information like this from another Utility company that explains MORE DETAIL as to "What do I do after I smell the gas and called the Utility Company?" IMO, "my" Utility Company STINKS with their directions, especially when you compare this information with the information I have listed for you below from a different company! We should have been told to LEAVE! That is how strong the odor was AND I had a headache already. Here is what MY Utility Company says to do:
Natural gas meters and pressure regulators are designed to withstand extreme outdoor weather conditions, but did you know that snow and ice build-up can damage them?
If you find your meter or pressure regulator covered in frozen ice or snow, do not attempt to remove the ice or use de-icer. Contact SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, toll free, at
Now, this is what happened to us:
First, let me tell you last week our battery died in our Carbon Monoxide Detector, and on Saturday when my husband does the grocery shopping (No, "I" cannot do it due to my disability.) he and I BOTH forgot to write "BATTERY" on the grocery list! We did NOT replace the battery, and SHOULD HAVE IMMEDIATELY! FOR REASONS YOU WILL READ ABOUT HERE:
MAY I INSIST YOU DO THE FOLLOWING IF:
YOUR BATTERY DIES IN A SMOKE ALARM, A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR, OR "WHATEVER" TYPE OF ALARM THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE,HAPPENS TO DIE:
IMMEDIATELY DROP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GO TO THE STORE THAT MINUTE! DO NOT WAIT! DO NOT PUT IT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW, OR THE WEEKEND -
"GO" NOW! BUY THE BATTERY "NOW!"
Why am I saying this?
IT HAPPENED TO US! WE WAITED! "WE" COULD HAVE BEEN AN 'ALMOST'! WE HAD A GAS LEAK! Even though the leak occurred outside, the Carbon Monoxide could have built up INSIDE THE HOUSE.
I WANT YOU TO SAVE YOURSELF, SIGNIFICANT OTHER, AND/OR YOUR CHILDREN'S LIVES! EVEN A PET, IF YOU HAVE ONE!
This IS a SERIOUS MATTER! DO NOT WAIT BECAUSE YOU "WILL" FORGET, just like WE DID!
I 'DO' change out our SMOKE DETECTOR batteries every year on my daughter's birthday, BUT, I FORGOT ALL ABOUT THE CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR! I DIDN'T EVEN GIVE IT A THOUGHT! GIVE IT A THOUGHT AND CHANGE THE BATTERY IN THAT, TOO!
So, here's what happened to us:
My husband works afternoons and did not happen to get off of work and home until a little after 2:00am. Hubby went to bed about 3:15am. I was still awake, and reading. It was 3:30am and my dog wanted outside. I'm trying to get her to go to sleep instead, as I really did not want to get up as I was nice and cozy, but then I thought how uncomfortable "I" would be if I did not get to use the bathroom before "I" went to bed, and I could NOT do that to my dog!
I let the dog out at 3:30am. I waited for her, as she took a little longer, and I did not know why? I thought that was strange. I opened the door to let her in, and WHOA! I was hit with this powerful smell of NATURAL GAS! My DOG saved our and possibly our neighbors lives as well! Thank GOD my dog HAD to go out!
I happen to be very sensitive to the smell of natural gas, or the odor that is added to it by the Gas Company. It has been known to happen that people 'have asked ME' to take a whiff if they think they have a gas leak to see what I think. I have NEVER been wrong! I was NOT wrong last night, either. I closed the door to the house, and sat back down for a few minutes. I thought just in case it's some other odor . . . maybe sewer, as it had started raining pretty good a little earlier. I opened the door again a few minutes later, all the way open. I was NOT mistaken. It WAS natural gas.
I immediately started getting a headache. I came back in the house and pulled up my Utility Company online, called their Emergency number. They were out here in LESS THAN '5' MINUTES!
YES! IT'S "THAT" IMPORTANT!
The man could NOT smell the gas! I could. He eventually found it was 'OUR' meter that was in the back of the house in a corner I could never have gotten to if I tried. I'm in a wheelchair, and I would have gotten stuck as the ground was practically flooded from all the rain and the melted snow.
What happened? Due to erratic temperatures, freezing, thawing, freezing, thawing, and it also being in direct sunlight, time made some of the pieces wear out. Some part just below the area where the gas comes in through my meter, the seal wore out. (I'm supposedly NOT to be charged for that gas?) It filled the neighborhood with gas. Our house, the neighbor next to me and behind us.
What 'could' have happened, I wondered? I knew it would not have been good, and the man on the telephone when I called was concerned about my headache, but I couldn't go outside, so . . . today I Googled to find out what 'could' have happened had I NOT BEEN AWAKE AT THAT TIME! (Thank GOD I WAS AWAKE!) Here is what I found, and it was MUCH MORE INFORMATIVE than what I found at my own Utility!
The following is COPIED AND PASTED from Consumer's Energy:
The 3 Rs of Natural Gas Safety
If you think you have a natural gas emergency, go to a safe location. Then call Consumers Energy toll-free at . It is important that you call -- DO NOT E-MAIL -- and report the emergency. Feel free to print this page and leave it with your emergency numbers in case you have a gas emergency.
Knowing how to recognize, react to and report natural gas emergencies can eliminate or minimize their consequences.
Signs of a natural gas leak include:
- Leave the area immediately and call us at , then follow our instructions
- Do not use any electrical device, such as light switches, telephones or appliances such as garage door openers. They could spark and ignite the gas.
- Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters
- Do not try to locate the source of the gas leak
- Do not try to shut off any gas valves or appliances
- Do not start vehicles
- Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until a Consumers Energy employee says it's safe to do so
- If the natural gas ignites, let it burn. Do not put out the flame; burning gas will not explode.
- If you are digging and think you may have damaged a natural gas pipeline, leave the area immediately. If you are using motorized equipment and can turn off the motor safely, do so to prevent the ignition of any leaking gas. Then abandon the equipment and leave the area. Never restart equipment until the surrounding environment has been checked and declared safe.
- If you think you have a natural gas emergency, go to a safe location. Then call Consumers Energy toll-free at
- If you see unusual activity near a natural gas pipeline or facility, call us immediately at
- Natural gas lines should not be installed from the meter to any other buildings in which people live
- No building or other structure may be built over any natural gas pipeline
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions in operating and caring for natural gas appliances, and use each appliance for its intended purpose
- Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids indoors or in the same room or area as a gas appliance or other ignition source
- After a flood or other disaster, check for the odor of gas before entering any area. If gas is detected, leave the area immediately and call Replace any appliance submerged in water
- Ensure fuel-burning appliances are installed, used and maintained properly and safely. Hire a qualified technician to inspect heating and venting equipment annually, and use a carbon monoxide alarm that meets current standards.
- Use a broom to keep gas meters, pipes and other service equipment clear in winter. Gas-appliance chimneys and vents must be cleared after snow and ice storms to ensure proper venting and prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.
- Ensure gas space heaters are installed by a qualified professional and used and maintained properly
- Don’t use fuel lines for storage. Heavy coats or other items hanging from a fuel line (often located near the ceiling in basements) can stress the joints in the pipe and cause gas leaks. Don't allow children to swing on the pipes, either
- Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees or lower. Check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub, and never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.
- Replace flexible connectors. Cracks can form and cause serious gas leaks in these flexible pipes that attach appliances to fuel lines. Limit the number of times you move natural gas appliances, and replace flexible connectors at least every 10 years with an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved model.