- Gas Leak
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Building Safety & Security
- Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP) for Labs
- Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP) for Admin & Classrooms
When emergencies arise that could or do involve gas equipment within the University, or if you suspect a gas leak, always notify Facility Management: 777-2591.
In the event of a gas utility failure, the type of disruption - planned or unplanned - will dictate the type of response. In an unplanned disruption that creates an immediate threat to life, structure or other property, Facilities Management and the Grand Forks Fire Department will be dispatched to manage the threat.
Facilities Management will manage the process of restoring gas utilities to their normal state. In the event of a pipeline accident or leak, personal safety is the first priority. Wear safety equipment suitable to protect yourself. The situation will require a professional presence to assist the public and other emergency teams.
Petroleum gases are heavier than air and will seek the lowest levels. They are typically bottled.
Ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene, normal-butane and isobutane, butylene (butene) and isobutylene (isobutene) are petroleum gases, and are stored and transported as liquid under pressure.
These gases have ignition points above 806°F but extremely low flash points below -100°F and are non-toxic unless their concentration in air reaches 1000 parts per million (PPM). They are also called refinery gases.
Natural gases are lighter than air and rise.
Natural gas, for the most part, is odorless. To make it discernible, an odorant has been added. The odorant level is noticeable when there is less than 1 percent gas in the air, which is below the flame flash point.
Natural gases become flammable and will ignite if mixed with air between 5 and 15 percent.
The ignition point of gas is about 1100º to 1200º F. Ignition sources may include:
- Pilot lights
- Flint sparks
- Static electricity
Never rely on odor alone. Gas which leaks through soil may have the odor removed.
Industrial gases are commercially manufactured and sold for uses in other applications. These gases are mainly used in an industrial processes, such as steelmaking, oil refining, medical applications, fertilizer, semiconductors, etc.
Sewer gas is a complex mixture of toxic and non-toxic gases produced and collected in sewage systems by the decomposition of organic household or industrial wastes.
Sewer gases include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Improper disposal of petroleum products such as gasoline and mineral spirits contribute to sewer gas hazards. Sewer gases are of concern due to their odor, health effects, and potential for creating fire or explosions
Gas Leak Inside a Building
- Call Facility Management: 777-2591.
- Ventilate the area.
- Shut off open flames.
- Do not operate electrical equipment.
- Shut off the outside valve if possible and leave off until turned on by the gas company.
- If there are heavy concentrations of gas, evacuate the building.
Gas Leak Outside a Building
- Call Facility Management at 777-2591.
- Check for gas odor.
- Extinguish all open flames (no smoking).
- Secure ignition switches.
- Notify others who may be involved.
Gas Burning Outside
- Call Facility Management at 777-2591.
- Let the gas burn, but don't try to extinguish.
- Burning gas will not explode
- Secure the room.
- Reroute traffic.
- Never operate street gas valves.
- Spray combustibles, not the flame, with water.
If you suspect a pipeline leak, your first concern should be for your personal safety and the safety of the people in the surrounding area.
Assess the hazard.
- Sight - Look for liquids that are pooling on the ground above the pipeline zone. Some are gases that cannot be seen. Look for any brown or discolored grasses or vegetation that would otherwise be green. Watch for any vapor clouds or heat waves that are rising above the pipeline area.
- Sound - Listen for hissing, rumbling or roaring sounds that indicate the escape of pressurized liquids or gases from a pipeline in the area near the right-of-way corridor.
- Smell - Odorants are added to cause an odd pungent odor to the gas within the pipeline. Gaseous products leaking from pipelines will generally have the odor of sulfur or rotten eggs. Be alert to any foul or unusual smells surrounding the area near any pipeline markers.
If you observe any of these indications, do not investigate further. Avoid all contact with any escaping liquids or gases. Leave the area immediately. Once you are in a safe area, Call Facility Management at 777-2591.
Isolate the area.
Control all ignition sources.
With plastic pipe, wet with water or wet cloth. This reduces static charge.
- Call Facility Management at 777-2591
- If it appears that gas lines, meters, or appliances are endangered, shut off gas at the valves.
People Trapped in an Elevator During a Gas Leak
- Reassure passengers to stay calm and that you are getting help.
- Instruct passengers to pick up the emergency phone in the elevator (if there is one) so they can provide direct information to the emergency responders.
- Call Facility Management at 777-2591 and provide information.
- Stay near passengers until police or other assistance arrives, provided it is safe to stay in the building