heating season: natural gas safety
We want you to know how to safely use natural gas in your home and to recognize hazards when they occur.
While natural gas is typically a safe and efficient fuel choice, it is important to recognize that it is a flammable
gas that is easily ignited by nearby heat, sparks, or flames. Natural gas is colorless and odorless in its
natural state. Orange City Municipal Utilities (OCMU) adds a distinctive “rotten egg” odor to help alert you to
potential gas leaks.
If you are inside and suspect a gas leak, leave the home immediately without turning any lights on or off. If
you are outside and detect a gas leak, move away from the area and stay upwind of the leak. If you suspect
a leak anywhere, call OCMU’s emergency gas line at 707-5000 from a neighbor’s home or cell phone when
you are safely out of the area. You can also call 911. Our crews will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a
Burning natural gas can produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. If appliances are maintained and
used property, the amount of carbon monoxide present is usually not hazardous.
If appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can
result. You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. Symptoms
of mild exposure to CO poisoning include flu-like signs (no fever) such as nausea, headache, shortness of
breath, and fatigue. Continued exposure leads to a severe throbbing headache with drowsiness, confusion,
and a fast heart rate.
Carbon monoxide detectors are available to help alert you if levels rise in your home. Never ignore a carbon
monoxide alarm! If it sounds, move to fresh air and call 911 and OCMU at 707-5000. If your alarm does not
sound, but you still suspect symptoms of poisoning, leave the home and call 911 and OCMU.
Carbon monoxide alarms are important, but an alarm is only added protection. The best thing you can do to
protect your family is to have your appliances inspected every year by an expert. For more information,
please call OCMU gas services at 707-5000.