Skip to main content

Would you do the right thing?

Would you know what natural gas smells like or know what to do in the event of a gas leak? According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey conducted by Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc., only 33 per cent of respondents could accurately describe what natural gas smells like! That is a very low number considering the damage a gas leak could potentially have.

In its natural state, natural gas is odourless – so an odourant called mercaptan is given to give it a distinctive rotten egg or sulphur-like odour. This helps make even the smallest leak easy to detect. Though most natural gas leaks can be detected by smell, it is important not to rely on sense of smell alone. Other ways to detect a potential gas leak include: a hissing sound, and/or dead or dying vegetation around a natural gas metre, appliances or pipes.

In cases where a gas line has been damaged, people may not recognize or may ignore the smell, especially if the damage is not obvious. In these cases, a gas leak could go unreported. If someone suspects a natural gas leak, Enbridge advises:

1. Act quickly and remain calm, leave the area immediately
2. Leave electrical switches, appliances and computers as they are 
3. Do not smoke or use lighters/matches 
4. Do not start any vehicles or motors 
5. Do not use phones or any electronics until you have left the area 
6. Call the 24-hour Emergency Number 1-866-763-5427 or call 911 
7. Make the call. Do not assume that someone else will report it. 

For more information, visit