There are many safety hazards confronting first responders (i.e., police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel) when they arrive on the scene of an emergency. Private citizens also may become first responders. Energized electric lines and equipment are a primary concern, along with hazards posed by natural gas leaks. Risks can be lessened by applying some basic safety principles.
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Be observant for leaks. Although leaks on natural gas pipelines are rare, be observant for dirt or water being ejected in the air, dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise normal area) over or near pipeline areas, flames coming from the ground or appearing to burn just above the ground, a roaring, blowing or hissing sound near a pipeline, or a distinct odor of natural gas.
Fortunately, natural gas is lighter than air, and thus, can dissipate into the air rapidly, making accidental combustion difficult. To further prevent accidents, natural gas has a very high ignition temperature, at about 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is nearly twice the ignition temperature for gasoline. These factors make accidental ignition or combustion of natural gas less likely. However, high concentrations of gas in a confined space may increase the danger of an explosion if triggered by a spark or flame.
If you smell gas: