Hurricane Season Safety Tips
Virginia Natural Gas is providing the following recommended guidelines associated with natural gas safety during a weather emergency:
Detecting Gas Leaks
- If customers smell the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas, they should leave the area immediately and move a safe distance away from the potential leak, while avoiding any action that may cause sparks.
- They should never try to identify the source of a leak or stop the leak themselves.
- They should avoid using any sources of ignition, such as cell phones, cigarettes, matches, flashlights, electronic devices, motorized vehicles, light switches or landlines, as natural gas can ignite from a spark, possibly causing a fire or explosion.
- They should call the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 or 9-1-1 once they are out of the area of the suspected leak and in a safe place. They should also stay away until Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel indicates it is safe to return.
- Strong winds and saturated grounds could cause trees to become uprooted. Before removing downed trees, customers should contact Virginia 811 by calling 8-1-1 to have the location of underground utility lines marked, because downed trees could become tangled with the natural gas lines.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or natural gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area and call the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 1-877-572-3342 or 9-1-1 from a safe location.
- Customers are encouraged to know where to locate their natural gas meter.
- Following a weather emergency, they should ensure the natural gas meter is visible, and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or an underground gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area and call the Virginia Natural Gas 24-hour emergency response number at 1-877-572-3342 or 9-1-1 from a safe location.
- Customers are advised to leave their natural gas service on during a hurricane or severe storm. Most natural gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.
- If flooding occurs at a residence or business and the gas appliances are under water, customers are advised not to operate their appliances until a safety inspection is conducted.
Natural Gas Generators
- During a power outage, natural gas generators provide continuous fuel supply from an existing natural gas line. While these units are available in a range of sizes to meet various energy needs, customers are encouraged to contact Virginia Natural Gas prior to installation to determine whether their service line and meter meets load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.