The nuances of natural gas have been discussed frequently, highlighting the importance of staying alert and prepared for natural gas leaks if and when they occur. However, while many people know how to identify the signs of a natural gas leak and what to do when they notice one in their home, they still need to understand how to deal with the worst if it were to come.
The dangers of a natural gas leak can lead to undesirable outcomes like a fire. While natural gas leak fires are rare, they still happen and can quickly get out of control if not managed properly. Natural gas fires can be caused by a multitude of things, including:
- When natural gas appliances are used, installed, or maintained incorrectly
- Faulty burners, igniters, and pilot lights
- Poor temperature control
- Disconnected or broken connectors and pipes
- Gas lines that run from the street to a house are old, rusty, or damaged
A fire can also occur via a natural gas leak catching a spark and lighting on fire.
Now that you know the causes of a potential natural gas leak fire, here is how you can prepare for any scenario by learning the steps to put one out.
How to Stop a Fire Caused by a Natural Gas Leak
When the threat of a natural gas fire is impending or has already taken place, it must be handled with extra care in order to get the flames under control. Below are the steps to follow.
- Shut off the gas supply. DO NOT attempt to shut off the gas if you risk coming into contact with the fire. If it’s safe, turn off the gas supply to the appliance or area the natural gas leak fire is located. Cutting off the flow of fuel will make the fire easier to put out. However, if you have a natural gas leak from a broken gas line, turning off the valve won’t necessarily shut it off.
- Evacuate the area. Just like with a typical natural gas leak, you and everyone in the home must evacuate and notify professionals to handle the rest once your group is a safe distance away. Even if the fire is small and contained, everyone should leave the room or area. If there is no fire, leave the door open to air out the scene. However if the natural gas leak has matured to a fire, close the door and evacuate.
- Call for help. If you can’t extinguish the fire using alternative methods (i.e., smothering the flames, baking soda, etc.), you should call emergency services. Your utility company is equipped to shut off the gas safely, and the fire department can inspect the area to ensure there are no more natural gas leaks or fire risks.
- Use the right fire extinguisher. If you can, try to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher if one is available. Remember, not every fire extinguisher handles the same fires, so double-check to ensure you use the right one for an emergency.
- A natural gas leak fire is considered a class C. These fires require ABC or BC powder extinguishers rather than a water or foam extinguisher. Those are only good for class A fires or fires originating from solid, non-melting materials like wood, hay, and coal.
- Stay put and wait. It should be a given that once you evacuate, you should wait until qualified professionals give you the green light to go back.
Using the wrong method to put out a natural gas fire is extremely dangerous and can potentially make the situation worse.
Natural Gas Safety at Home
For your safety and the safety of others, it’s essential to know how to deal with a natural gas emergency. You must follow these natural gas safety tips to ensure you don’t experience a natural gas fire or at least know how to stop it in its tracks. Natural gas leak prevention is the best defense to avert a fire risk, which is why everyone should have a natural gas alarm.
When under control, natural gas, like many other potentially hazardous materials, is as harmless as it is widespread. To avoid risking natural gas fires, keep combustible materials away from furnaces, water heaters, and other gas appliances.
Natural gas detectors should be installed in both common areas and rooms with natural gas appliances. The ideal placement for natural gas alarms is no more than 12 inches from the ceiling and between 3 and 10 feet away from the natural gas appliance. These devices alert residents of potential natural gas leaks, so they must be installed where they can be heard.
Regularly monitoring and maintaining of natural gas detectors is essential to ensure long-term use. If they plug in or are manually hardwired into your electrical system, ensure they function properly with bump tests and recalibrate if necessary. Alternatively, you can always hire professionals to do so.
Since natural gas is colorless and odorless, you need a natural gas leak alarm that will provide fast and accurate alerts to protect you and your loved ones. DeNova Detect is the only residential battery-powered natural gas alarm in the U.S. with a guaranteed 6-to-10-year battery and product service life. Advanced sensor technology enables these devices to alert residents of a gas leak up to 11 minutes faster than other natural gas detectors.
If there’s one natural gas leak detector you can depend on, it’s DeNova Detect. To learn more about our DeNova Detect products, visit our natural gas safety blog or contact us at email@example.com.