Click here to download a natural gas safety video (256 kbps.mov)
Click here to download a MP4 of the video
- If you detect a faint odor of natural gas, check the pilot lights. If the pilot light or burner flame is out, shut off the gas supply. Allow ample time for any gas accumulation to escape before relighting.
- If you smell an odor or know there is a damaged gas line, do not light any matches, candles, cigarette lighters, flashlights, motors or appliances. Don't use the light switch, telephone or cell phone.
- Get everyone out of the building. Call us at 402.554.7777 from a phone not located in the building to have the gas shut off.
- To report a gas leak, call 402.554.7777.
More than half of the reported natural gas accidents are caused by people digging before utility lines are marked.
Digger's Hotline Call 811 before you dig to get free locations of utilities.
Emergencies and disasters
In an emergency or disaster, turn off all gas appliances as you would if you were leaving your home -- like the stove, oven, gas fireplace, etc.
If there is a situation where gas needs to be shut off, M.U.D. will take care of it, and keep customers informed via the news media.An uncontrolled release of natural gas may result in fire.
Click here for information about natural gas security.
Click here to go the Federal Office of Pipeline Safety.
Decreased sense of smell
If you have a decreased sense of smell, you may want to buy a "natural gas sensor." Most models are available for less than $60. They are easy to install and they monitor carbon monoxide, methane (natural gas) and propane. The unit should have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) seal of approval. Listed below are natural gas sensor websites:
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication DissordersSafe home products
- Propane products
What is Mercaptan?
Natural gas in its native state is colorless and odorless. Mercaptan is the additive that is added to natural gas to make it easier to detect in case of a leak. The most important thing to know about mercaptan is that it stinks. Some people compare it to the smell of rotten eggs.
In a concentrated form, its smell is almost unbearable. And it takes only a few parts per million of mercaptan to give natural gas a smell. That is precisely why we add it to natural gas. If we did not add mercaptan, it would be difficult for you to know that unlit natural gas was coming from your stove after you left the valve turned on. And leaks from furnaces and hot water heaters would be nearly impossible to detect without expensive equipment. So mercaptan's smell is a very valuable safety feature.
Mercaptans contain sulfur. That's what makes them smell. The kind we use blends well with natural gas and, in a gaseous state, has much the same properties as natural gas, so it will also rise and dissipate with natural gas.
There are other uses for mercaptans in industry, including jet fuel, pharmaceuticals and livestock feed additives. They are used in many chemical plants. Mercaptans are less corrosive and less toxic than similar sulfur compounds found naturally in rotten eggs, onions, garlic, skunks, and, of course, bad breath. In other word, forms of mercaptan can be found in things that smell.