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For an uncontrolled gas leak with no ignition,
evacuate everyone, including firefighters, from the
immediate area using meters to monitor the extent of
the hot zone as previously described.
ESCAPING NATURAL GAS IN A BUILDING
When escaping natural gas is found in buildings,
notify the utility company immediately. Clear the
building of occupants, including emergency personnel. The IC should determine if the natural gas can
easily be shut off inside the building without risk
to personnel or if it must be shut off at the outdoor
meter/service, which should be equipped with a valve
that can be shut off with a wrench. The best
course of action is almost always a shutoff
outside of the building.
It may prove extremely hazardous for firefighters to enter a building to shut off the gas
inside. Ventilate the building by opening the
doors and windows. Do not operate electrical
switches, phones, or other equipment that
could create sparks (including nonintrinsically
safe radios and ventilation fans) in the hot
zone. When ventilating a building, the initial
scenario may be gas levels that are ABOVE
the flammable range and, in the ventilation
process, firefighters may bring the atmosphere
down into the flammable range, which could
result in an ignition. Do not be complacent if
gas readings are high.
ESCAPING NATURAL GAS
BURNING IN BUILDINGS
When escaping natural gas is burning in
buildings, the IC should notify the utility
company immediately and determine if the
gas can be shut off inside the building or
must be shut off at the outdoor meter.
In certain industrial or commercial buildings, turning off the natural gas might
seriously interrupt important and costly
processes or create further hazards. Preplanning these scenarios is extremely valuable, and
the utility company and facility management
can help determine the proper action. If the
natural gas supply cannot be safely shut off,
prevent fire extension by wetting surrounding
combustibles with a fog stream until utility
company emergency crews can control the
flowing, burning natural gas.
INDOOR NATURAL GAS
PIPING OR METERS
Notify the utility company immediately
when it appears a fire endangers indoor natu-
ral gas piping or meter. The utility company
is best equipped to shut off the supply of
natural gas. The on-scene IC may elect to shut off the
supply at an inside valve if it can be done safely.
In some rare cases, natural gas may burn out of
control at an appliance. Notify the utility company
when a natural gas-fueled appliance is involved in
fire. You can typically control the fire by shutting off
the gas flow at the appliance shut-off valve, if it can
be safely accessed, or at the meter valve. Prepare to
check for exposure fires behind and above the burning appliance. Do not turn on the appliance or meter
valve once turned off.