Natural Gas Safety
Each day, natural gas pipelines safely move one of the earth's cleanest, efficient and reliable fossil fuels to more than 68 million businesses and residences. Here in the Capital City, the City's Natural Gas Utility serves over 28,000 customers.
Pipeline safety and preventing pipeline emergencies is vitally important to the employees of the City of Tallahassee Gas Utility. Gas pipeline safety is a team effort between the Gas Utility, construction companies and the public at large.
How You Can Help
CALL BEFORE YOU DIG! You can help prevent pipeline accidents by contacting Sunshine 811 (SS811) with a proposed excavation project at least two but no more than five business days prior to digging. This not-for-profit center notifies all appropriate utilities to ensure proper work coordination and to prevent damage to underground facilities. The center's customer service representatives are available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 1.800.432.4770. Sunshine 811 also offers web site access. Copies of SS811's Excavation Guide are available too, either by calling or downloading from the web site.
If You Smell Gas
- Leave your home, building or area immediately. Do not attempt to locate gas leaks.
- After you have left, call Your Own Utilities at 891.4YOU (4968). A gas leak is a rare event, but for your safety, 24 hour emergency service is always available.
- Do not use, turn on or off anything that could create a spark or flame including; electrical switches, appliances, electrical appliances, computers etc. Do not use a telephone including cell phones in the area where there is a strong gas odor.
- Do not use elevators.
- Do not position or operate vehicles and power equipment where leaking gas may be present.
- Do not smoke or use lighters, matches or other open flames.
Because natural gas in its natural state has no color or smell, for your safety a chemical ingredient (mercaptan, a chemical odorant) that smells like rotten eggs (a strong smell of sulphur) is injected into the stream of natural gas that is used by the natural gas appliance. This chemical is injected into the entire local natural gas distribution system that is owned and operated by Your Own Utilities. This rotten egg smell will let you know if natural gas is escaping from a leak at the natural gas appliance, from any pipe connections, or through the distribution pipe serving the appliance, inside your home.
Not familiar with what natural gas smells like? Give us a call at 891.4YOU (4968) and we will send you a card that will help you.
Gas Appliances Are Safe
Today, modern appliances must incorporate a variety of safety devices as mandated by federal law. For instance, all devices are now required to have a 100% safety shutoff pilot or to use electronic (pilotless) ignition.
Whether it's home heating, cooking, clothes drying or fireplace inserts, natural gas appliances will provide you many years of safe, economical service if you follow these simple guidelines:
- Have your natural gas appliances installed and maintained by licensed natural gas or HVAC contractors, master plumbers or qualified appliance service companies. See a list of local natural gas contractors.
- Every year before winter and the heating season arrive, plan to have your heating equipment checked and serviced by a licensed natural gas installer or HVAC contractor.
Severe Weather Safety
Here are a few suggestions to help keep your natural gas appliances safe during a severe weather event:
- DO NOT turn off the valve on the gas meter that supplies natural gas to your home or business yourself, should you decide to evacuate. If the valve on the gas meter needs to be turned on or off, Your Own Utilities or emergency staff will take care of that for you.
- Natural gas appliances and heating equipment must have a shut-off valve at the unit or in the case of fire logs, six feet from the appliance. You CAN turn off the natural gas supply to each appliance or heating unit in your home or business.
- Before, during and after severe weather events, Your Own Utilities crews are ready to respond to natural gas emergencies.
- After the severe weather has passed, customers that shut-off the natural gas supply to their appliances or heating equipment can contact Your Own Utilities by calling 891.4YOU (4968) when they need to turn the pilot lights back on.
See also our Tropical Storm and Hurricane Tips