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Emergency Information
Emergency Information

Emergency Information

Smell Gas?

  • LOOK for blowing dirt, discolored vegetation or continued bubbling in standing water.
  • LISTEN for a hissing or roaring noise near a natural gas appliance or line
  • SMELL for the distinctive, rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas. Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so we add a chemical odorant called mercaptan for easy detection. This odorant has a distinctive “rotten egg” type odor. You should act any time you detect even a small amount of this odor in the air.
  • LEAVE the area immediately and move a safe distance away from the potential leak, while avoiding any action that may cause sparks. Do not try to identify the source or to stop the leak yourself.
  • 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 or open flame, possibly causing a fire or explosion. Natural gas is non-toxic, lighter than air and displaces oxygen. In severe cases, if not used properly, natural gas can also lead to asphyxiation.
  • CALL Virginia Natural Gas at 877.572.3342 or 911 once you are out of the area of the suspected leak and in a safe place. Stay away until Virginia Natural Gas or emergency personnel indicate it is safe to return.

Note: Do not solely rely on sense of smell. Be aware that some individuals may not be able to detect the odorant because they have a diminished sense of smell, olfactory fatigue or because the odor is being masked by other odors in the area. Certain conditions may cause the odorant to diminish so that it is not detectable. Some gas lines, due to their unique function, may not have 
odor at all.

Carbon Monoxide (CO): Signs and Leak Prevention

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There are many carbon monoxide detectors on the market. Regardless of brand, the detector you purchase should meet current UL standards and must be installed and operated according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Buildup

Stuffy or stale air
Very high humidity
Fallen soot from your chimney or draft hood
A hot draft coming from your draft hood

If carbon monoxide has been backing up into your living space for some time,
you may experience carbon monoxide poisoning. While carbon monoxide
poisoning is extremely rare, be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stinging eyes
  • Sleepiness
  • Heart flutters

Proper Ventilation

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can cause illness and even death when not properly vented by your furnace or appliances. Carbon monoxide comes from the incomplete combustion of common fuels such as heating oil, gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane and natural gas. When properly operated and
maintained, natural gas heating equipment and appliances are safe and efficient.

But if your appliances or heating equipment are not properly operated and vented, carbon monoxide could back up into your living space.

Improper venting can be caused by the following:

  • Chimneys or vents blocked by leaves, bird nests, debris or heating residue 
  • Malfunctioning or wrongly installed equipment 
  • Heating equipment improperly enclosed by paneling or other structures 
  • Improperly vented equipment

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

  1. Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  2. Have an HVAC technician check your heating equipment annually.
  3. Keep the area surrounding your gas appliances clear from clutter or trash.