Training Tips

When responding to emergencies and fires, we need all of the information that we can get to help us make safe and effective decisions. The tips below are offered to add to your knowledge and assist in your decision making. More will be added.

Ny State Chiefs1

Gas Tips

Natural gas is extremely dangerous and can be almost imperceptible in many cases. However, it does have a recognizable odor. Natural gas runs through your home and is part of your utilities; the odorant Mercaptan can be scrubbed out as the gas passes through sand or dirt. It can be removed once it’s passed through steel gas pipes until the pipe becomes saturated. Once that happens, the odorant can’t be removed anymore. 

 

This is important because gas leaking from an underground pipe seeps into structures with a reduced gas odor, making it even harder to detect. Knowing this, firefighters can always arrive equipped with a combustible gas indicator(meter) to avoid any accidents.

 

Note: Gas Transmission Pipelines, the ones delivering gas to your utility, don’t have the odorant added; however, if you see dead vegetation around the leak or bubbling in puddles, you’ll be able to see signs of it. That’s why the combustible gas indicator is vital, as it will detect it regardless.

Firefighters should always bring their gas monitors when investigating carbon monoxide alarms. You should always have your CO monitor and gas meter equipped on these types of calls; the natural gas triggers CO alarms, and if there’s no odorant (due to it being scrubbed out of the gas), you may think that the CO alarm is defective. Be careful as the home might still be in hazardous conditions if left as an “unwarranted” CO response.
The explosive range of natural gas is between 5% and 15%; if the gas level is either above or below those percentages, it won’t ignite or explode. Below 5%, the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL), the gas is too lean to burn, whereas, above 15%, the Upper Explosive Limit (UEL) is too rich. Before venting a space full of natural gas above the explosive range, you should realize that as the gas vents out of the space, the concentration of gas will lower down to and through the explosive range. Any ignition could cause an actual explosion at this point.

Firefighting Tips