Smell gas? Act fast! That’s the message for natural gas customers to remember as they switch on their furnaces.
Ameren Missouri alone delivers natural gas to more than 130,000 customers every day. Natural gas is a safe and efficient source of energy when used properly, but it’s important to understand the hazards of a gas leak.
“Safety is our top priority, so we want every customer to be fully prepared in the rare event that one of their natural gas appliances fails to work properly,” said Pam Harrison, director of gas operations at Ameren Missouri. “Natural gas is naturally colorless and odorless, but we add a harmless chemical to the gas in our system to give it a rotten egg smell. This allows people to quickly recognize a potential natural gas leak and take quick action.”
Natural gas is used for heating homes and water, food preparation, manufacturing processes and to generate electricity. To burn, natural gas must mix with the proper amount of air and be ignited by a flame or spark. The process makes gas leaks hazardous because of the flammable and explosive nature of the fuel in uncontrolled conditions.
If you suspect you smell natural gas, follow these safety precautions:
Immediately leave your home or business, taking all people and pets with you, and call Ameren Missouri at 1.800.552.7583 from a safe distance.
Do not turn lights on or off, operate thermostats, garage door openers, appliances or any device that could cause a spark. Even the smallest spark in the presence of natural gas can lead to a fire or explosion.
Do not use a phone or light a match or use anything with a flame inside or near the building.
Do not open windows or doors to ventilate the building.
Do not re-enter the property for any reason until Ameren Missouri personnel tell you that it is safe to enter.
Ameren Missouri responds to natural gas leak calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there is never a charge to the customer to investigate a gas leak.
Energy assistance is available to Ameren Missouri customers who need help paying their bills. For more information about energy assistance options, visit AmerenMissouri.com/EnergyAssistance.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
In addition to natural gas leaks, Ameren Missouri wants customers to be aware of carbon monoxide (CO) risks and follow proper safety precautions. CO poisoning can occur when fossil fuels and other materials are burned without proper ventilation.
As a first line of defense, install CO detectors within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping and test them monthly. If anyone in your home is ill with flu-like symptoms and you suspect CO poisoning, immediately go outside and call 911. For more information call the Missouri Poison Center at 1.800.222.1222.
“Carbon monoxide is tasteless and odorless, so a working detector can give you the warning you need to save yourself and your family,” added Harrison. “Also keep an eye out for visible indications of carbon monoxide, including black soot around air registers, moisture inside windows and dead or dying houseplants.”
Ameren Missouri continuously invests in damage prevention and hazard assessment for its network of natural gas pipelines. Highly trained employees monitor the system around the clock, performing regular maintenance to ensure the safe delivery of natural gas. Most pipelines are buried underground. High-visibility markers identify the approximate location of major pipelines in the area and highlight the need for extra care.
For more natural gas safety tips, visit AmerenMissouri.com/NaturalGas.