What to Do When... There's a Gas Leak

What to Do When...
In November of 2012, Boston University conducted a study revealing that there were more than 3,300 natural gas leaks across Boston. Six of the locations had gas levels high enough to cause a major explosion.

Gas leaks in homes and businesses are more common than you would expect.

Natural gas contains carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas that interferes with normal oxygen uptake, making it a silent assassin.To protect your employees and your business, it's important that you know how to detect, react and report a leak.

Start by following these tips from Consumers Energy.


If you notice any of the following signs, you may have a natural gas leak:
  • A blowing or hissing sound coming from the ground
  • Dirt or dust blowing up from a hole in the ground
  • Bubbling water in wet or flooded areas
  • Dead plant life around your gas line 
  • A rotten egg odor


If you suspect a natural gas leak, take the following precautions:
  • Evacuate the area immediately. 
  • Do not start your car near the gas line, because the spark from your ignition might cause an explosion.
  • Do not use any electrical devices (light switches, telephones or appliances) for the same reason.
  • Do not try to find the source of the leak or fix it yourself.
  • If the natural gas ignites, do not attempt to put out the flames; just let it burn itself out.


Report the leak to your local gas company from a safe location. Remember, do not attempt to resolve the leak yourself.

    Be aware of natural gas lines around your business and create a business continuity plan so you can be prepared in the event of a gas leak.

    Disaster Recovery Helpful Hints — Part 1

    Tip of the MonthWhen an organization's normal business practices are interrupted by a disaster, financial difficulties follow in the form of damaged equipment, a loss in productivity and a tarnished reputation. Business-Critical Continuity estimates that a single disaster event costs businesses $505,500 on average.

    So while damages to your facility and equipment are unavoidable, you can reduce your business's downtime and increase stakeholders' trust in your company by having a business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan in place. In this three-part series, we will give you helpful tips that BC planners often overlook when creating recovery strategies, starting with this: A disaster doesn't only affect your business. It also affects your employees. 

    Include Employees in Your BC/DR Plan

    Not All Employees Can Work from Home

    You may think that your employees can simply work from home in the event of a disaster; however, this isn't always a viable option. Have you considered the fact that when a large amount of employees try to log on to your corporate network, it has a tendency to drastically slow down or crash altogether?

    In addition, if your office has lost power or has experienced more serious damages, your employees' homes are probably in the same boat.

    Don't Rely on One Person's Knowledge for Critical Information

    Having only one employee who can access password-protected information or applications can cause unnecessary downtime. What if you can't reach that person after a disaster? Instead, equip more than one person with access to your business-critical information.

    Anticipate Employees' Concerns in the Midst of a Disaster

    After a disaster, your employees need to know what steps to take. To eliminate confusion and the repetitious process of answering the same question multiple times, consider sending out an automated emergency message in the form of an email or phone call that contains an update on the condition of your facility, when/where employees should come into work, etc.

    We also highly recommend that you test your business continuity plan before a disaster strikes and at least once per year. This will enable you to gather employee feedback about what's working and what's not.

    It can be difficult to remember all of the important information to include in a BC/DR plan, so review our Business Continuity Plan Checklist for help.

    [INFOGRAPHIC] Hurricanes by the Numbers

    As the largest hurricane to ever rip through the Northeastern coast, Hurricane Sandy was up to 900 miles in diameter. That's bigger than the state of Texas! This infographic compares the magnitude of Sandy to the ferocity of Irene and the deadliness of Katrina.

    For tips on preparing for hurricane season, check out our hurricane preparedness checklist.

    Review Severe Weather Safety Reminders

    Do you ever have trouble remembering the difference between a weather watch and warning? Here are a few reminders about the differences between the severe weather alerts and what to do about them.


    tornado spout
    Tornado Watch: Conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes.

    Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted by spotters or indicated on the radar in your local area.

    When your area is under a tornado watch, start to prepare for a tornado. Plan to take shelter underground, on the lowest level of a building or in an inner room without exterior walls or windows. Check for local weather announcements periodically in case a tornado begins to develop. If you hear a tornado warning, take shelter immediately, as a tornado is in your area.

    Severe Thunderstorms

    lightning-filled sky Severe Thunderstorm Watch:  Conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may produce winds, large hail and dangerous lightning.

    Severe Thunderstorm Warning: A severe thunderstorm has been observed by spotters or indicated on the radar and is occurring in your local area.

    Storms can develop quickly and have damaging effects on the ill-prepared. If there is a thunderstorm watch or warning in effect, move away from windows in case of hail and limit the use of electrical equipment to avoid electrocution from lightning.


    "Road Closed" sign on flooded street
    Flash Flood Watch: Heavy rains are possible and may produce flooding.

    Flash Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or imminent in your local area.

    When the sky turns ominously dark, be on the lookout for flood alerts. Start to prepare for a flood if there is a watch in your area by placing important items on counters or shelves. Heavy floods can carry dangerous materials that may break through walls, so stay away from the exterior walls and windows. If a flood starts to build up, move to higher ground. Try to avoid getting in your car, because some floods have the power to sweep a car off the road.

    Here are a few tips on how to prepare for a flood if one reaches your area.

    Hurricane Terms

    Satellite image of hurricaneTropical Disturbance: A loosely organized area of thunderstorms that remains in an area for 24 hours or more.

    Tropical Depression: An area of low pressure characterized by rotary circulation of thunderstorms with winds of less than 39 mph.

    Tropical Storm: An unorganized area of low pressure and thunderstorms with distinct circulation and winds of 39-73 mph.

    Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the designated area within 36 hours.

    Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the designated area within 24 hours.

    Hurricane: Pronounced rotary circulation with wind speeds of 74 mph or greater.

    Storm Surge: An abnormal rise in sea level usually caused by a hurricane. Storm surge height is the rise in sea level caused by the storm.

    The progression of a tropical disturbance into a hurricane can occur quickly. Without the proper protection, hurricane damage could be devastating. If you see a tropical disturbance in your area, stay updated on local weather reports in case a hurricane forms. Begin to board up your windows, prepare for flooding and back up all important data.

    If a hurricane develops and is projected to reach your area, follow evacuation plans and prepare for roads to be crowded. For a comprehensive pre-hurricane plan, review our hurricane preparedness checklist.

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