According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 14 million Americans have propane delivered to their homes for fuel purposes and nearly half of these Americans use propane as their primary heating fuel. Additionally, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that over 60% of all U.S. households use natural gas. Needless to say, both types of gas are an integral part of American energy consumption. Consequently, the National Fire Protection Agency reported that U.S. fire departments respond to over 3,200 gas-related residency fires per year. Natural gas accounts for roughly 2,000 of these cases. The most common areas that these fires begin include stovetops, outdoor cooking areas, and water heaters. It is important that, as a homeowner, you can identify a gas leak and respond appropriately. Here are some useful tips on how you can sense a gas leak or excessive gas exposure and act in the event of an emergency.
What to do If You Suspect a Leak
In some cases, natural gas can be a “silent killer” due to its odorless nature. This can cause it to accumulate in a room or workspace without alerting its occupants. Thankfully, natural gas bottling facilities apply an odorant to the gas mixture, (typically the smell of rotten eggs) allowing people to detect the smell early in its exposure. Other signs of a gas leak include dead or discolored vegetation in a healthy area, dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground, bubbling in wet or flooded areas and a blowing or hissing sound. Now, if you suspect a natural or propane gas leak, it is in your best interest to follow the steps below:
- Do not try to locate the source of the leak
- Do not use anything that could cause a spark and ignite the gas
- This includes starting up a vehicle, flicking a light switch, using a telephone, or activating any garage door openers
- Do not try to shut off any natural gas valves
- Notify any other occupants of the situation
- Leave the area and get to a safe location (100+ feet from the site)
- Contact 911, the local gas company or fire department
What You Can Do If You Suffer a Gas Injury
If you or a loved one has been fortunate enough to survive a gas explosion, medical care should be should be contacted immediately, especially in the event of a burn injury. It is extremely important that you are treated for second and third degree burns and infection as soon as possible. In any case, it is essential to understand your legal options for pursuing compensation for your losses. Our Arizona personal injury attorneys will help you deal with any issues and potential problems you may encounter in the event of a gas or other utility incident. Any evidence that points to the negligence of the utility company or its employees will be used to pursue a favorable compensation at trial.