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Florida Public Utilities
Natural Gas Safety

SAFETY BASICS

How to Sense Danger

Natural gas is naturally odorless. A ‘rotten egg’ odorant is added so you and your family can detect even the smallest leak. Use our scratch n’ sniff enclosed at the beginning of this book to teach everyone in your home or business to recognize the smell of danger—and be sure to take the following steps should someone suspect a leak:

1. Clear your home or business immediately.

2. Once safely outside, call your local FPU office to report a leak. (Or dial 911 once safely outside if you sense a more serious emergency.)

3. Do not re-enter your home or business until an emergency responder or an FPU qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so. 

DO NOT:

  • Use a cell phone or telephone until securely outside the location
  • Smoke, light a match or do anything else that may cause a spark, which could result in an explosion or fire
  • Turn on or off any electric switches
  • Ring the doorbell or open any garage doors

Visual and audible signs may also indicate that a natural gas leak has occurred. Please leave the area and contact us immediately if you recognize the following signs of a potential gas leak or other safety hazard:

  • You see blowing dirt or bubbling creeks or ponds
  • You notice dead vegetation in an otherwise green area
  • There are hissing sounds near a gas appliance or line
  • A gas line has been broken or damaged
  • You smell a distinct ‘rotten egg’ odor

Gas Characteristics 

Natural gas is 30% lighter than air. If a leak occurs in an open area, natural gas will easily vent and dissipate into the atmosphere. When enclosed, natural gas will rise to the ceiling and fill the room from top to bottom. Propane is heavier than air, and if a leak occurs, vapors will collect near the ground and move into low-laying areas and underground structures in the absence of movement.

Preventative Safety Measures – Your Fuel Line

FPU maintains the buried gas piping from the main to the meter but does not maintain the customer’s buried gas piping after the meter. Buried piping that you do not properly maintain may be subject to the potential hazards of corrosion and leakage. Buried gas piping should be:

  • Periodically inspected for leaks
  • Periodically inspected for corrosion if the piping is metallic
  • Repaired if any unsafe condition is discovered

Also, when excavating near buried gas piping, the piping needs to be located in advance, and the excavation should be done by hand. Call 811 before you dig and we will be there within a few business days to locate your utility lines at no charge to you. Call FPU to locate your fuel lines.

Energy Theft

Energy theft is the tampering of natural gas or propane meters with the intent to avoid paying for energy. It is a dangerous and illegal act that can result in:

  • Fire and numerous other threats to public safety
  • Severe bodily injury, including burns
  • Severe legal ramifications, including large fines and possible imprisonment

If you suspect someone is tampering with a natural gas or propane meter, please contact FPU immediately. Your call can be confidential.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

If your home or business has gas appliances installed, FPU recommends the installation of a CO monitor. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is toxic to humans and animals when encountered in concentrations above approximately 35 ppm. CO is a result of incomplete gas combustion.

 Safety & Reliability 

The gas industry invests time and money into its natural gas pipelines and propane distribution systems to ensure safety and reliability. Natural gas has the safest record of all major transportation systems. Each year, the nationwide natural gas industry spends over $6 billion on safety alone.

Remember!

Leave the area and call 800.427.7712 immediately if:

    • Your meter or service is damaged in any way, which would be an extremely unlikely event

    • A gas line has been broken or damaged

    • You smell a distinct ‘rotten egg’ odor

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