Many companies rely on natural gas as a cost-effective source of energy. However, this does come with some risks. One of the most serious is a gas leak. Gas leaks do happen, but they can be handled with the proper response and gas detection equipment. There are several essential steps that you and your staff should take when there’s a gas leak at work.
If you smell or otherwise detect a gas leak, the first step is always the same. Everyone needs to evacuate the building. Leave the premises immediately. Don’t try to pack up your laptop or stuff your briefcase with the documents you need. Any delay is potentially hazardous. You, your coworkers, and any clients or customers in the area need to get out at once. This might sound scary, but there’s no need to panic. Exit in an orderly fashion, and you’ll have taken the first and most crucial step to ensure everyone’s safety.
Stop using any electronic devices. Don’t turn on your cell phone, or boot up your laptop. In fact, you shouldn’t turn on or off any lights. It’s unlikely, but static electricity can be deadly in certain situations. The severity of the leak is impossible to know right away. The leak could be relatively mild, or it could be quite serious. Any electronic devices that are on, leave on. If they’re off, leave them off. This is a valuable tip, and it’s something all of your employees need to know.
This is tricky, but it could be helpful. While you’re evacuating the building, try to open as many doors and windows as possible. This allows the gas to escape. However, you shouldn’t attempt this if it would further expose you to the gas leak. Only open doors and windows if you’re able to do so without added risk. Obviously, everyone wants to do what they can, but don’t sacrifice your safety in the process. Allowing the gas to escape is beneficial, but ensuring that you are able to evacuate safely and quickly is far more important.
After you’ve left the premises, you need to call 911 and the gas company. Yes, it should be in that order. Calling 911 is non-negotiable. Emergency responders need to be notified, so they can arrive as quickly as possible and take control of the situation. If you have the gas company’s phone number or can quickly look it up, call the gas company as well. They probably have an emergency number already listed.
Once you’re out, stay out. You’ll probably think of at least a dozen things you wanted to grab before you left. It can be tempting to run back in really quick and grab something important, but it’s not worth risking your health or life. As with any emergency situation, a gas leak needs to be treated seriously. You can’t tell from the odor how severe the leak is. Opened windows and doors will likely allow the smell of gas to subside, but this can give you a false sense of security. Until the area is declared to be safe and secure, assume that it’s a risk to enter the building.
A gas leak sounds frightening, but it doesn’t have to be. Practice drills and preparation go a long way to ensure that people act reasonably and avoid panicking. An early warning is hugely helpful, which is why a gas leakage detection system is vital. Contact DOD Technologies, Inc., at (815) 680-6086 if you have any questions or would like to learn more.