I know where to find the master water valve if there is a leak in my house, but I don’t know how to turn off the gas. Even though I learned the hard way, it’s nice to know that our plumbing service does gas line testing and repairs and that they also have an emergency line if you need them right way after business hours.
A few weeks ago my husband and I were at home when we smelled gas. It started off as a very faint smell and we thought maybe it was coming from somewhere outside, but as it grew stronger we realized that it was coming from the house and we started to panic. I’m glad the kids weren’t at home too when this all happened, because I probably would have scared them more than I needed to. We grabbed the dog and a cell phone and went to the edge of our driveway so that we could call someone. While my husband called the fire department line to ask what we should do, I called our plumber’s emergency line to see if they knew what to do. Neither of us had been in this situation before so we weren’t exactly sure what the right call was to make and figured calling both would be best.
As we waited for what seemed like an eternity outside but what was really only 10 minutes, the plumbers showed up first and shut off the gas line. Just a few seconds later the fire department arrived to check the gas levels and determine where the leak was coming from. Since they both came to save the day in different ways, I’m still not sure who I am supposed to call first when there is a gas leak in the house. I somehow don’t think that everyone is as lucky as we are with such a reliable plumbing service that can save your house from blowing up. What I did learn from the whole experience is that I can ask my plumbing service to do annual gas line leak prevention checks so that something like this never happens again. We regularly check our pilot lights in the oven and water tank to make sure no gas escapes from there, but if there is a leak somewhere in a line we would have no way of knowing until it was too late. Having the lines checked now will keep any breaks from ever happening and I feel much safer knowing that we should never smell gas like that again.
The firemen told me later that we made the right move in calling them first, and that the right thing to do when you smell gas is to call 911 and the local gas company to shut off the main gas supply to the block, not just our house. We knew that it was the best idea to get out of there immediately, and not to use any electricity that could cause sparks or create an open flame.