In an emergency, SoCalGas® focuses on the safety of our employees, customers, community and first responders by getting the natural gas under control. Police and Fire First Responders can assist us in our efforts by protecting the public and isolating or removing ignition sources, if it is safe to do so. Advance knowledge of where pipelines are located in your community, the products transported in them, and how to contact and work together with the pipeline operator in the event of an incident, are key factors to an effective and safe response. When responding to a natural gas pipeline emergency, make sure your dispatch calls our emergency number at (213) 244-8900.
Key Steps For Emergency Responders
- Obtain as much information from the calling party
- What type of incident is taking place (inside natural gas odor, outside natural gas odor, natural gas line damaged by a contractor)
- Provide the information gathered of the incident to the first responder agencies
- Contact SoCalGas as soon as possible and provide all applicable information for the incident
- Ask to speak to or request a call back from the responding SoCalGas supervisor if needed
- Approach the incident cautiously and stay upwind
- Only attempt to control ignition sources if it’s safe to do so
- DO NOT operate main line natural gas valves
- DO NOT attempt to control blowing gas
- Lightly foam the damaged natural gas leak area to prevent static electricity
- Create a safety perimeter
- Work with SoCalGas personal on evacuating surrounding buildings
- Evacuate the public 150-300 feet or more if necessary
- Assist with road closures and traffic detours
- Verify the safety of the building prior to entering
- Provide medical assistance as needed
- Activate the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) if needed
- Coordinate with local, state and federal agencies
- Contact SoCalGas if the incident calls for the need
- Request SoCalGas fill the liaison position in county EOC if needed
- Respond to the incident as soon as notification has been made
- Report to the fire and law enforcement command post and become part of unified command
- Monitor the area for natural gas indications
- Isolate the pipeline if requested
- Mitigate all pipeline damage
Natural Gas Potential Hazards
- Highly flammable and may form an explosive mixture with air
- Easily ignited by heat, sparks, or flames
- Lighter than air and can migrate into enclosed spaces
- At high concentrations, can cause dizziness or asphyxiation
- Fire can cause irritating and/or toxic gases
Recognize a Natural Gas Leak
Be aware of signs you may see, hear or smell when there is a leak.
LookIf you see a damaged connection to a natural gas appliance, dirt/water blowing into the air, a dry patch of grass, fire or an explosion near a pipeline.
ListenIf you hear unusual sounds like hissing or whistling.
SmellIf you smell 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 pipeline and soil conditions can cause odor fade—the loss of odorant so that it is not detectable by smell.