Lisa O'Leary Use Your Senses To Recognize A Leak

Guest Blogger: Anne Lowe, National Energy Foundation, Program Director

Natural gas leaks are rare, but being able to recognize and respond to a suspected leak is an important part of living and working safely. Educating children and their families to see, smell and hear clues to recognize a leak is an essential part of the safety mission for National Energy Foundation (NEF) and its natural gas utility partners.

Seeing a damaged connection to a gas appliance, smelling the “rotten egg” odor of mercaptan (the chemical odorant added to natural gas) or hearing a hissing sound are all signs that a leak may have occurred at home. Sightings of dead vegetation in an otherwise moist area or continuous bubbling of water may also suggest a pipeline leak in the community.

Knowing what to do when a leak is suspected is the second part of ensuring safety. Most importantly, get everyone outside and away from the area.  Don’t do anything that could cause a spark and ignite the gas; including using a light switch, a garage door opener or making a phone call.  From a safe location outside and away from the leak call you natural gas utility.

IMG_7467_xOThe Natural Gas Safety poster developed by NEF in collaboration with AGA teaches these and other important concepts.

NEF has solutions to help communicate the natural gas safety message. Classroom ENERGY SAFE KIDS presentations, education materials and an interactive website all support a utility’s public outreach plan. For more information, visit

Lisa O'Leary

About Lisa O'Leary

Lisa O'Leary is the Manager of Digital Communications for the American Gas Association. Prior to joining AGA, Lisa served as Manager of Multimedia Communications for the Senator John Heinz History Center, "the Smithsonian's home in Pittsburgh," and as a Web Producer at WPXI-TV, Channel 11 News in Pittsburgh, PA. Lisa is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Communications.
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