Article by:

Biswajit Biswas
Manager – Safety & Security

NATURAL GAS EMERGENCY PROCEDURES AND ACCIDENT PREVENTION

 

  1. EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

 

The emergency procedures for natural gas emergencies are similar to that for fire emergencies. All incidents will use the Incident ERT (emergency response team) procedure.

 

  1. NATURAL GAS LEAK/SMELL INSIDE BUILDINGS

GENERAL GUIDELINES

If you smell natural gas:

  • Do not turn electrical switches on or off.
  • Do not use a phone or a cellular phone inside the building.
  • Do not use any potential ignition sources or open flames.
  • Use common sense and never take risks that may endanger you or others, do not return to the building unless advised to do so by the ERT team.
  • If it is possible, open the doors and windows, to ventilate the building. However, do not spend additional time opening doors or windows if there is an imminent danger of explosion or fire that would jeopardize your safety.
  • Always leave the building quickly by the fastest possible route.
  • Follow the emergency procedures listed below.

 

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

 

When you suspect or detect a natural gas leak or observe a flammable material spill, follow the emergency procedures listed below regardless the intensity of odor or size the spill.

 

IF YOU DETECTOR SUSPECT A NATURAL GAS LEAK

 

  1. Leave the area.

 

  1. Sound the fire alarm. (NOTE: Because of its low odor threshold, natural gas is sensed far in advance of high concentrations and pulling the fire alarm will not add to the fire risk already present by static electricity and electrical and mechanical equipment in the building.)

 

  1. Immediately evacuate the building via the shortest and safest exit route. If possible to accomplish within seconds, leave windows and exterior doors open to ventilate the area.

 

  1. Do not use elevators; always use stairs.

 

  1. Go to a safe area or to a per-assigned exterior assembly area for your building.

 

  1. Call to fire center (Gas from the nearest phone the safe area.)

 

  1. Await emergency response personnel the safe location.

 

  1. If you know or suspect that someone is missing or trapped, contact the emergency response personnel outside the building.

 

  1. If you are trapped during a gas release/emergency, close all doors between you and the gas leak. Stuff the cracks around the doors. Open windows or other exterior openings for fresh air and ventilation. Wait for a safe window and signal/call for help. If there is a phone in the room, call ERT/Kolkata gas and tell them exactly where you are.

 

ERT RESPONSIBILITIES

 

  • If there is a possible life safety issue, e.g., gas odor and to initiate a notification to appropriate agencies who will then proceed promptly to the scene to assess the situation.
  • Also, ERT is to notify all personnel in all tunnels and in the mechanical rooms of the building where the gas smell has been reported.
  • ERT is to contact FM plumbers as soon as possible to avoid delays.

 

NATURAL GAS ACCIDENT PREVENTION

The following safety guidelines are to be considered.

Safety Guidelines for Occupants

  • A major part of any prevention program is good housekeeping practices.
  • Keep all combustible materials away from the flame of your gas appliances.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the care and operation of gas-fired appliances.
  • Don’t block furnace room air vents. Gas appliances require air to burn the fuel completely and operate efficiently. A yellowish flame can signal improper operation.
  • If the pilot flame on a gas appliance goes out, shut off the gas supply at the appliance’s valve and allow time for accumulated gas to escape before attempting to re-light pilot flame.
  • Have qualified personnel handle natural gas-related repair and installation jobs.

Safety Rules for FM, Contractor and Others Conducting Natural Gas Related Work

  • Contact the gas authority prior to any digging.
  • During gas leak/smell inside buildings, if possible, cut off all electric circuits at a remote source to eliminate operation of automatic switches in the dangerous area. Safety flashlights designed for use in hazardous atmospheres are recommended for use in such emergencies.
  • Investigate other buildings in the immediate area to determine the presence of escaping gas therein.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the care and operation of gas-fired appliances.
  • Have qualified personnel handle natural gas-related repair and installation jobs.
  • Make sure the flues of automatically controlled appliances are corrosion-free, securely attached, and correctly vented.
  • If the pilot flame on a gas appliance goes out, shut off the gas supply at the appliance’s valve and allow time for accumulated gas to escape.
  • When the gas supply is to be turned off, it is the duty of the qualified agency to notify all affected users.
  • Before the gas is turned off to the premises or section of piping to be serviced, all equipment shutoff valves are to be turned off. Exception: In cases of emergency, this requirement does not apply.
  • A leak test is to be performed to determine that all equipment is turned off in the piping section affected. Exception: In cases of emergency, this requirement does not apply.
  • Shut off the supply of gas to the areas involved. Lock-out/tag-out any closed valves where necessary.
  • When interruptions in work occur while repairs or alterations are being made to an existing piping system, the system is to be left in a safe condition.
  • Where work is being performed on piping that contains or has contained gas, the following is to apply:
  • Provisions for electrical continuity are to be made before alterations are made in a metallic piping system.
  • Smoking, open flames, lanterns, welding, or other sources of ignition are not to be permitted.
  • Artificial illumination is to be restricted to listed safety-type flashlights and safety lamps. Electric switches are not to be operated, on or off.
  • The piping system is to withstand the test pressure specified without showing any evidence a leak or other defects. Any reduction of test pressures as indicated by pressure gauges is to be deemed to indicate the presence of a leak unless such reduction can be readily attributed to some other cause.

• The open end of piping systems being purged is not to discharge into confined spaces or areas where there are sources of ignition unless precautions are taken to perform this operation in a safe manner by ventilation of the space, control of purging rate, and elimination of all hazardous conditions.

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