As Winter Approaches, Atlanta Gas Light Company Reminds Consumers of Natural Gas Safety
October 2, 2002
ATLANTA, Ga. (October 2, 2002) - With the approach of cold weather, residents of Georgia will be firing up their natural gas furnaces. Natural gas is an efficient, clean-burning fuel that is safe to use, but as with any fuel, homeowners should be aware of the steps to take in the event of an emergency.
"At Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGLC), we are committed to educating everyone about safety," said Isaac Blythers, president of AGLC. "While we work very diligently to prevent leaks, they sometimes occur. Natural gas customers need to be prepared with knowledge of the correct way to handle a leak."
Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so a substance called mercaptan is added to give gas a distinctive "rotten egg" smell. While natural gas is non-toxic, it is combustible, said Blythers.
If the "rotten egg" smell is detected, you should leave the premises immediately. Then, call AGLC at 770-907-4231 in the metro Atlanta area or 1-877-427-4321 outside the metro area.
"Homeowners should call the AGLC emergency numbers, not their gas marketers," Blythers said. "In the past, there has been some confusion over who responds to these situations, but AGLC is responsible for operating and maintaining the pipes that bring the gas to your home or business. We are the ones to call for pipe repairs and leaks."
According to Blythers, homeowners should remember the following:
Safety tips about carbon monoxide:
- If the rotten egg odor is detected, vacate the premises immediately.
- Do not attempt to locate the gas leak.
- Open doors and windows as you leave if it is possible to do so.
- Don't smoke or strike matches.
- Do not turn lights off or on. Do not unplug electric appliances or turn on electric appliances.
- Do not use a telephone.
- When you are away from the house or the location in question, call AGLC at 770-907-4231 in the metro Atlanta area or 1-877-427-4321 outside the metro area.
- Do not return until an AGLC representative gives the "all clear."
If natural gas furnaces and appliances are not maintained and operated properly, Blythers said, they can produce carbon monoxide. This poisonous gas has no odor, taste or color. Warning signs include any unusual behavior in gas appliances or a yellowish-color flame on a gas appliance burner.
"A licensed professional should inspect furnaces and appliances annually to make sure that they are working properly and are vented correctly," Blythers said. "The inspection will also ensure that your natural gas furnace or appliance is operating at peak efficiency."
Fall, when homeowners turn on their furnaces for the winter, is a good time to have an inspection, Blythers said.
For additional safety information, please visit the Atlanta Gas Light Company web site at www.AtlantaGasLight.com.