Natural gas related calls, whether for an odor of gas in the area, or an actual release, are a common call for fire agencies across the county. In fact, in 2011, firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue responded on close to 30 natural gas related calls.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel found naturally underground. Natural gas is mostly comprised of methane, a colorless and odorless gas. Because it is highly flammable and odorless it posses a major safety concern, so an odorant is added that gives off a foul smell. Natural gas is used in both residential and commercial properties. It is used for heating, water heaters, stoves, clothes dryers, fire places, outdoor lighting, and in industrial processes.
Natural gas does have an excellent safety record, but emergencies do occur. Portland Fire & Rescue and NW Natural want citizens to be in the know if you smell gas:
SMELL. GO. LET US KNOW.
SMELL – Identify a possible gas leak.
- Unusual odor or scent (rotten egg or sulfur smell)
- Unusual hissing sound
- Blowing dirt
- Leave the structure or area
- Don’t start a vehicle in a garage or near any natural gas odor
- Don’t use any electrical or battery-operated device, such as a light switch, phone, appliance or garage door opener
- Don’t smoke or use a match or lighter
- Don’t try to find the leak
LET US KNOW
If you suspect a natural gas leak or other gas emergency and are unsure of the severity or what to do, evacuate the area immediately and call 9-1-1 from a safe location. Do not use your telephone. This includes cellular phones and all types of portable communication and electronic devices that have a battery. These can spark and create a source of ignition.
Click here to visit NW Natural’s official website and learn about how natural gas works so you can keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe!
Portland Fire & Rescue