Gas leak: where to call, what can and cannot be done if the apartment smells of gas

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Kristina Skoritskaya
Last update: November 2019

Unfortunately, the tragedies caused by the gas leak are often accompanied by a large number of victims. Agree that no one is safe from troubles and misfortunes even within the walls of your own home. Therefore, it is so important to know how to behave and what to do if suddenly gas smells in your house.

In this article, we will consider in detail the reasons why the usual blue fuel turns into a deadly enemy, we will talk about ways to detect leaks and how to do the right thing in an emergency.

Properties and features of domestic gas

In order to better remember the algorithm of actions in case of a sudden gas leak and to understand why such an extreme situation is possible at all, it is worthwhile to figure out what kind of fuel is so familiar to us. Indeed, under certain circumstances, gas even during emergency leakage begins to ignite, but does not explode. What is this connected with and what is needed in order for negligence or technical malfunction to turn into an explosion?

In gas supply systems of residential buildings and institutions is located natural gashaving undergone serious preliminary processing. Unnecessary impurities are removed from it and enriched with special substances in order to maximize the efficiency and safety of domestic operation.

In the composition of natural gas, the largest share among all substances is methane. It is flammable, has no color or smell, and weighs lighter than air, so when it leaks it moves to the top of the room.

Placing a vent in a stretch ceiling
The lightness of methane is one of the reasons why the vents of the ventilation system are placed at the top. At this location of the grate, gas and combustion products more easily go into the ventilation system

To facilitate the detection of the fact of emergency gas leakage, special substances-odorants are added to methane, which give the mixture such a familiar smell. therefore detect leak it is possible not only with the help of a gas alarm, but also thanks to its own sense of smell. Often, a jet of gas produces a characteristic hissing sound.

In addition to methane, household gas also contains other substances: ethane, carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen sulfide, propane and butane. The last two types of gas are quite toxic.

Amazing but incredibly powerful gas explosion, which in strength can be compared with the detonation of more than 10 kg of TNT, the amount of fuel leakage can be only a few liters. Why is household gas so destructive?

Gas detonation in many respects resembles the principle of operation of a vacuum bomb, and the explosion itself is more appropriate to call the burnout of a gas-air mixture, since only one spark is needed to start the process. The movement of gas molecules is chaotic. Depending on the external conditions and the density of the gas, the speed of movement of its molecules can increase, tens of times higher than the wind speed during powerful hurricanes.

In the room, oxygen from the air binds to fuel, in the very gassed volume a zone of very discharged air is formed. At the time of ignition, the pressure drops almost instantly, due to which air rushes to the discharged epicenter in a single wave.

The consequences of a gas explosion in a residential building
At the epicenter of the explosion, the air becomes too dense and rushes back to the periphery, forming a shockwave. Since the volume of the room is quite limited, as well as the volume of air involved in detonation, the force of the shock wave becomes incredibly destructive

In fact, gas detonation is possible at a methane concentration in the room at the level of 5.3 - 14%. And for propane-butane, the range from 1.5 to 10% is explosive. If the concentration of explosive gas exceeds the upper limit, then ignition occurs instead of an explosion, which is no less dangerous for consumers.

What to do with a gas leak?

If the room smells strongly of gas, then a completely natural reaction of the average man is panic. And in this state, it is difficult to immediately figure out where to call and what to do if the apartment smells of gas.

But, given the information presented above, it becomes clear that the leak detector needs to perform two main actions that prevent the detonation of fuel: prevent sparksthat could provoke an explosion and minimize gas concentration in room.

To realize these vital tasks, you need to remain calm and take the following steps.

  1. Turn off all gas appliances and shut off the gas supply by craneif there is such an opportunity.
  2. Open windows to allow air to flow in and gas out. A strong draft is the main weapon against gas pollution, so you need to open the frames not only in the room where the leak occurred, but also in rooms located in the opposite part of the apartment.
  3. Leave the house and, being in the entrance, turn off the power to the apartment by turning off the power in the shield.
  4. Call the emergency gas service at 104 or 04, or at the single emergency call number - 112.

Through these measures, listen to yourself and control your own condition.

If you just went into the porch and heard the smell of gas, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with detailed algorithm of actions with a gas leak in the entrance.

Unconscious girl
Gas poisoning can lead to loss of consciousness, so try to breathe less of the gas in the air and leave the room as soon as possible.

To prevent the formation of a fatal spark, you need to know what absolutely can not be done if you smell the gas.

These manipulations will help reduce the level of gas concentration in the apartment:

  1. Do not use matches or a lighter in or near a gasified room.
  2. Do not turn on the lights and appliances.
  3. Do not turn off already running appliances. The spark is produced at the moment of the beginning of the current supply and at the moment of termination. Therefore, pulling the plug of a working TV from a power outlet in a room with a gas leak is a completely dangerous act. An already burning light bulb will provoke an explosion with less probability.
  4. If the place where the leak formed is burning, in no case try to extinguish the flame.
  5. Do not attempt to locate the leak yourself. Firstly, it will not work, as the gas service should be involved in network restoration and accident prevention. Secondly, being in an apartment at this moment is dangerous.

It is also important not to call the hotline from the polluted housing: the work of a mobile or landline telephone can also become a source of spark. Use your smartphone already on the street.

Gas leak detector in the kitchen
It is important to install gas leakage sensors in rooms where gas equipment is used. Such a sensor will notify homeowners of an accident before the gas concentration reaches dangerous values.

If people are unconscious in the apartment, the algorithm of actions will be slightly different. Speed ​​remains vital: no one can stay indoors for a long time.

Remember that methane is not too toxic. However, when it ignites, carbon monoxide is formed, the poisoning of which is very dangerous and can lead to death.

The algorithm for action in the presence of victims of unconsciousness is as follows:

  1. Before entering the apartment, while on the landing, take a full chest of air and hold your breath.
  2. Enter the housing and do not close the front door.
  3. Open the windows, and then quickly take the victim out of the apartment. In the cold season, warm things may remain in the hallway; try to grab the victim’s outer clothing with you.
  4. Take the loved one out of the entrance, call the emergency gas service and an ambulance for the loved one. If necessary, carry out resuscitation measures.
  5. If there is a strong smell of gas in the staircase, open the front door and windows. If the latter do not open, they can be broken up to create the necessary level of thrust to accelerate the outflow of gas.
  6. If someone else remains in the apartment, take a breath and, having maxed out in the lungs of air, return for a relative.

Helping a dear person, do not forget about yourself. If you feel unwell and lose consciousness, immediately leave the apartment, entrusting the salvation of a loved one to professionals.

In an unconscious state, you cannot help anyone and only exacerbate the tragedy without having time to notify the emergency service of what happened.

Safe use of gas equipment

It is easier to prevent an irreparable situation than to survive its consequences. Sometimes, carelessness and negligence become the causes of death.

Gas inspection by a gas service specialist
It is necessary to provide access to the apartment to gas service specialists on time, who must check the condition of equipment and main pipes annually

Therefore, it is so important to observe safety regulations during the operation of any gas equipment.

  1. Repair, adjustment and modification of gas equipment can only be entrusted to a certified specialist. Independent intervention in the operation of devices is unacceptable.
  2. Any malfunction of the equipment is the reason to abandon its operation until the breakdown is completed by the representative of the gas company with which you contract signed on that.
  3. A gas pipe brought into an apartment cannot be used as a fixture. Even a clothesline tied to a trunk can cause a gas leak.
  4. The ventilation system is the key to the safety of all households. Regularly check the level of traction and inform the appropriate services if it has dropped.
  5. Restrict children's access to gas equipment.
  6. Do not leave working equipment unattended.
  7. Do not use a stove burner or oven as a heating source.
  8. Keep the burners clean, clean them regularly from combustion products.
  9. When using gas cylinders, comply with their requirements. placement and operation.
  10. Always close the gas valve if you plan to be away for a long time.

To detect a leak in a timely manner, you should not rely solely on your own sense of smell.

Gas alarm installation or gas leak sensor help to identify gas leakage in the initial stages and timely contact the emergency service.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The places where leakage is most likely to occur and leak detection methods are described by the author of the following video:

Briefly about the actions during the leak and the symptoms of gas poisoning are stated in the video from the Department of Civil Protection of the Ministry of Emergencies of Russia:

The timely detection of domestic gas leaks and the correct actions in the process of liquidating the accident are the key to ending the incident without casualties and serious damage.

Do not neglect the safety rules for the operation of gas appliances, periodically ventilate the premises and always provide gas workers with access to housing for a routine inspection of equipment and ventilation systems. Remember that not only your life and health, but also those around you depend on your consciousness..

Still have questions about our article? Or want to share your own experience in detecting leaks and successfully resolving the situation? Write your recommendations, ask questions to our experts and other site visitors - the comment form is located below this article.

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