As part of national preparedness month, Puget Sound Energy recently distributed more than a million scratch and sniff brochures to customers and business owners so they can recognize the odorant used to help identify natural gas leaks.
When scratched, the natural gas safety pamphlet will release a distinctive, sulfur-like aroma, a smell similar to rotten eggs. To help detect natural gas leaks more easily, PSE and other natural gas utilities add an odorant, called mercaptan, to natural gas, which is naturally odorless and colorless.
“Every family needs to know that ‘rotten egg’ odor of natural gas so they can recognize, react and report a gas leak around their home or elsewhere,” said Andy Wappler, vice president of Customer Operations and Communications for PSE. “Safety comes first, and having your family know what to do in the event of a natural gas leak is our top priority.”
In addition to bearing the “rotten egg smell,” the pamphlet also shares how to recognize and safely report suspected natural gas leaks by going to a safe location and calling us at 1-888-225-5773 or calling 911 from a safe distance. PSE natural gas technicians will respond immediately at no charge from service centers located across Western Washington.
If you suspect a natural gas leak, follow these steps:
• Avoid turning on any electric switches, appliances or switching lights.
• Leave the area immediately. If you’re indoors, evacuate the building.
• Call PSE at 1-888-225-5773, available 24 hours a day, or call 911.
• Do not smoke, light a match, or do anything that might create a spark.
While the rotten egg odor is one way of detecting a natural gas leak, be sure to keep an eye out for hissing sounds, bubbles rising in a puddle or other pool of liquid, blowing dirt, or vegetation that may be dead in areas that are unexpected.