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These 13 Safety Tips Could Help Save a Life
These 13 Safety Tips Could Help Save a Life

What You Need To Know About Natural Gas and Carbon Monoxide Safety

February 7, 2017

WALTHAM, MASS. – With winter in full swing, National Grid is reminding its customers of ways to stay safe this heating season with these important tips on what to do if you suspect a natural gas leak and how to avoid exposure to potentially deadly carbon monoxide.  The safety of our customers is always the top priority for National Grid and we ask that you take proper safety precautions to make sure you and your families are safe.  

Report Natural Gas Leaks

Like any fuel, natural gas is safe when used properly. In the interest of customer and public safety, National Grid crews continually test, repair and improve the underground system that delivers natural gas, but the possibility does exist for a gas leak in or near your home. Natural gas is odorless, but National Grid adds a harmless substance called mercaptan.  Mercaptan has a strong odor similar to that of rotten eggs.

Any natural gas leak is a potentially hazardous situation. If you suspect a natural gas leak, National Grid recommends that you evacuate the premises for your own safety while taking the following immediate actions:

  • Do NOT touch any electrical or light switches, appliances, thermostats, doorbells, phones or anything that could cause a spark.
  • Do NOT turn any electrical equipment on or off.
  • Do NOT pull any plugs from outlets.
  • Do NOT smoke or light matches.
  • Call National Grid’s gas emergency number from a safe location: 1-800-233-5325 or 911 in Massachusetts and 1-800-640-1595 or 911 in Rhode Island. National Grid technicians will respond.
  • Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.
  • Whether you are inside or outside, if you smell gas, act fast.
 

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Safety & Prevention

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly if left undetected. It is the byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, butane, propane, wood, coal, heating oil, kerosene and gasoline. Common sources of carbon monoxide include malfunctioning forced-air furnaces, kerosene space heaters, natural gas ranges, wood stoves, fireplaces and motor vehicle engines. During the heating season when windows and doors are tightly shut, fresh air is sealed out, creating the potential for carbon monoxide to build up over time. National Grid recommends that  customers install a government-approved home carbon monoxide detector on every floor.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu.  Depending on the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control

If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and call 911.  Then call the National Grid emergency contact number at 1-800-223-5325 in MA and 1-800-640-1595 in Rhode Island. Do not return to your home until the carbon monoxide source is found. The following are some carbon monoxide prevention tips:

  • Arrange for an annual check of your heating system by a licensed professional heating contractor.
  • Check chimneys or flues for debris, bird nests or other blockages, and have them cleaned periodically.
  • Be sure space heaters and wood stoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • NEVER use a gas range for heating or burn coal or charcoal in an enclosed space.
  • Open windows do not provide sufficient ventilation to safely operate a generator indoors. If you use a back-up generator to supply power during outages, be sure to operate it outdoors.
  • An accumulation of snow could block vents for furnaces, hot water heaters and other appliances causing CO to back up into a building and result in carbon monoxide poisoning for those inside. Be sure vents are clear of snow and ice so they can operate properly.
National Grid will respond immediately to all carbon-monoxide related calls for all natural gas customers within its service area – even if you purchase natural gas from an alternative gas supplier or marketer.  However, please always call 911 first.

Click here for Massachusetts and here for Rhode Island.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.

Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities' long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).

For more information please visit our website, or our Connecting website, follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, friend us on Facebook, find our photos on Instagram