Baby Sitters Safety Guide
Cold Weather
Electrical Safety
First Aid Tips
Flammable Liquids
Home Fire Safety Check List
Home Heating
Ice Safety
Kitchen Fires
Natural Gas
Plan Your Home Fire Escape
Snow Removal
Tornado Safety
Winter Weather Driving

Natural Gas

Strong odor
If you ever smell a strong, persistent gas odor:

  • Put out all open flames.
  • Don't smoke or light any matches.
  • Don't touch any electrical light or appliance switches.
  • Don't use your phone because it may cause a spark.
  • Leave the house and call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's home, away from the gas odor. As you leave, open doors and windows if you can do so quickly and easily. Because natural gas is lighter than air, it rises and will dissipate rapidly where it can escape into the open air.
  • Stay away from your house until you've been told that it is safe to return.

If there's a major leak, such as one caused by excavators or a vehicle damaging a gas line:

  • Notify the fire department by calling 9-1-1.
  • Warn others to stay away from the area of the apparent leak.

Faint odor
A faint natural gas odor coming from an appliance could mean its pilot light has gone out or a burner valve has been left slightly open. It's easy to correct these problems. But if the odor is strong and hard to trace, be sure to call the fire department at 9-1-1.

Older furnaces and appliances might have manual pilot lights that can be lit again, but newer models have electronic ignitions that are powered by electrical sources.

If the pilot light is out

  • Read the manufacturer's instructions so you know what type of ignition is on the furnace or appliance.
  • Check the instructions and follow them exactly.
  • Don't try any measures not mentioned in the owner's manual.
  • If you aren't sure what to do, do not try any remedies on your own.
  • Call a qualified service technician or your gas company.

Before you dig
Illinois law requires all persons digging, regardless of the depth of the project, to call JULIE at 1-800-892-0123 at least 48 hours (two working days) prior to the start of excavation and to begin that excavation project within 14 calendar days from calling JULIE. (The 48 hour notice does not include Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.) Failure to contact JULIE prior to excavation in accordance with the law can carry penalties from $200 up to $5,000 for each separate offense. The Illinois Commerce Commission is the enforcement body for the law, not JULIE. For more information visit their website at

Avoid problems in winter

  • Clear ice and snow around electric and gas meters. Even indoor gas meters are vented outside.
  • Clearing the snow also helps meter readers do their jobs more accurately and efficiently.
  • Keep snow cleared from your high-efficiency gas furnace vent so the furnace will operate properly.
  • A blocked vent could cause a safety switch to turn off your furnace.