SoCalGas - How to Recognize and Respond to a Natural Gas Leak
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How to Recognize and Respond to a Natural Gas Leak

Spotting a dry patch of grass in your yard is one of many signs of a potential gas leak. That's why you should rely on all of your senses and:


  • Dirt, water or debris being blown in the air
  • Dead or dying vegetation (in an otherwise moist area) over or near pipeline areas
  • A fire or explosion near a pipeline
  • Exposed pipeline after an earthquake, fire, flood or other disaster


  • An unusual sound, such as a hissing, whistling or roaring sound near a natural gas line.


  • The distinctive odor of natural gas
  • Some persons may not be able to smell the odor because they have a diminished sense of smell, olfactory fatigue (normal, temporary inability to distinguish an odor after prolonged exposure to it) or because the odor is being masked or hidden by other odors that are present, such as cooking, damp, musty or chemical odors. In addition, certain conditions in pipe and soil can cause odor fade—the loss of odorant so that it is not detectable by smell.

Guidelines if you encounter a leaking natural gas pipe or meter

  • IMMEDIATELY EVACUATE the area, and from a safe location, call SoCalGas at
    1-800-427-2200 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • CALL 911 promptly after evacuating the area if the damage results in a natural gas leak that may endanger life or cause bodily harm or property damage.
  • DO NOT smoke or light a match, candle or other flame.
  • DO NOT turn electrical devices on or off, including light switches.
  • DO NOT start an engine or use any device, including a telephone, which could cause a spark.
  • DO NOT attempt to control the leak or repair the damaged pipe or meter. Do not use or turn off any equipment that could cause a spark. Motorized or electrically powered equipment or vehicles may create an ignition source if a natural gas leak is present. Safely abandon any motorized or powered equipment or vehicles. Natural gas leaking from a plastic pipe can create static electricity that can ignite the natural gas.

Further information is available in our section entitled Don't Rely on Just Your Nose.

Updated 4/2015

Report Any Pipe Damage

Evacuate the area and from a safe location, call SoCalGas at


to report any pipeline damage. No damage is too small to report.
Click to watch an informational video about detecting a natural gas leak.

Use Your Senses

Use your senses of sight, hearing or smell to be alerted to the presence of a gas leak.

»Watch video