Safety warning as survey reveals most people don't know what to do if they smell gas

Safety

  • A survey of 8,000, carried out ahead of Gas Safety Week (14 to 20 Sept), reveals a lack of understanding about gas safety
  • If they smell gas, worryingly high numbers said they would unwittingly do things that actually increase the risk of causing an explosion
  • Cadent calls for people to file the national gas emergency service number 0800 111 999 and ring it immediately if they ever smell gas
A safety warning was issued today after new evidence suggests most people in the UK don’t know what to do if they were to smell gas.

And worryingly high numbers of people revealed they might unwittingly do things that increase the risk of causing an explosion.

Ahead of Gas Safety Week (14 to 20 September), bosses at gas emergency service Cadent - whose engineers checked out more than 330,000 reports of smells of gas in the last year – are keen to raise awareness.

A survey asked 8,000 people what they would do if they smelled gas:
  • More than half (52%) said they saw nothing wrong with making a call from their mobile phone indoors
  • Over a third (34%) said they’d go out to get a carbon monoxide alarm if they didn’t already have one
  • One in five (20%) said they wouldn’t think twice about going into their basement or cellar to turn off the gas meter, if it’s situated there
  • Not insignificant numbers said they would close all windows (5%) and doors (10%)
These are all things you shouldn’t do. If you smell gas, using a mobile indoors or turning off a gas meter in a basement or cellar could ignite the gas and cause an explosion; windows and doors need to be fully opened, while gas and carbon monoxide are two different things, often confused. While it is important to have an audible CO alarm, such a device won’t alert you to leaks of natural gas.

Fewer than one in five people (18%) admitted to knowing the correct number to call – which should always be done from outside your home if on a mobile. That number is 0800 111 999, the national gas emergency service. More than 25% mistakenly thought that 999 is the number to ring.

Howard Forster, Chief Operating Officer, Cadent, said: “The first thing you must do if you smell gas, day or night, is call the gas emergency service on 0800 111 999 immediately.

“Please, save that number where you can find it easily and tell your family and friends about it.

“Our engineers are on standby 24/7, 365 days a year, to respond quickly to any reported smells of gas. The vast majority will be false alarms, but some will be real gas leaks. They must all be checked out to be absolutely sure. You must tell us about it, so we can make that assessment.

“Don’t wait until later or think someone else will do it. The risk just isn’t worth taking.”
  • What you should do if you smell gas
  • Call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 
  • Extinguish any naked flames and do not smoke
  • Do not operate any power or light switches, or any electrical appliances which could cause a spark 
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate the property
  • Turn your gas off at the meter – If your meter is in a cellar/basement, do not enter. Evacuate the building
Cadent operates the gas emergency service for North West England, the Midlands, South Yorkshire, North London and Eastern England. It employs hundreds of engineers ready to respond fast to reported gas escapes, day and night, 365 days a year. www.cadentgas.com



ENDS
 
Notes to Editors
  1. Calls to 0800 111 999 are recorded and may be monitored.
  2. Cadent’s emergency gas engineers carry equipment that can detect the smallest traces of any leaking gas. If a gas leak is detected, the engineer will make everything safe.
  3. The research for the UK’s four Gas Distribution Companies (Cadent, SGN, Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities) was carried out online by Opinion Matters, 12th – 28th August 2020 amongst a panel resulting in 8,023 fully responding. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act 1998.
  4. Findings across Cadent's networks:
County Would use mobile indoors if they smelt gas Would buy a carbon monoxide alarm if smelt gas Would close windows if they smelt gas Would close doors if they smelt gas **Correctly identified the National Gas Emergency Service number - 0800 111 999
Bedfordshire 33 (32%) 23 (23%) 7 (7%) 4 (4%) 16 (16%)
Buckinghamshire 37 (36%) 28 (28%) 7 (7%) 10 (10%) 20 (20%)
Cambridgeshire 48 (45%) 37 (35%) 7 (7%) 10 (9%) 24 (20%)
Cheshire 50 (48%) 33 (31%) 6 (10%) 10 (10%) 17 (16%)
Cumbria 50 (50%) 34 (34%) 3 (3%) 6 (6%) 18 (19%)
Derbyshire 54 (51%) 43 (41%) 3 (3%) 1 (1%) 13 (12%)
Essex 64 (57%) 38 (34%) 8 (7%) 10 (9%) 14 (13%)
Greater London (North of Thames) 428 (51%) 274 (33%) 51 (6%) 85 (10%) 128 (16%)
Greater Manchester 60 (53%) 31 (27%) 3 (3%) 10 (9%) 23 (21%)
Herefordshire/Worcestershire 54 (47%) 38 (33%) 4 (4%) 11 (10%) 19 (17%)
Hertfordshire 48 (46%) 31 (30%) 5 (5%) 6 (6%) 18 (18%)
Lancashire 54 (51%) 40 (38%) 4 (4%) 9 (9%) 21 (20%)
Leicestershire / Rutland 50 (47%) 32 (30%) 5 (5%) 6 (6%) 17 (17%)
Lincolnshire 52 (50%) 40 (38%) 4 (4%) 11 (11%) 22 (22%)
Merseyside 59 (53%) 37 (33%) 4 (4%) 5 (5%) 17 (16%)
Norfolk 60 (60%) 33 (33%) 3 (3%) 6 (6%) 22 (22%)
Northamptonshire 59 (57%) 33 (32%) 2 (2%) 6 (6%) 15 (15%)
Nottinghamshire 55 (55%) 33 (33%) 5 (5%) 11 (11%) 19 (19%)
Shropshire 63 (62%) 44 (44%) 10 (10%) 15 (15%) 16 (16%)
South Yorkshire 57 (55%) 41 (40%) 5 (5%) 8 (8%) 21 (20%)
Staffordshire 57 (54%) 32 (30%) 1 (1%) 7 (7%) 27 (26%)
Suffolk 59 (56%) 40 (38%) 10 (9%) 9 (9%) 16 (15%)
Warwickshire 56 (54%) 30 (29%) 6 (6%) 10 (10%) 20 (19%)
West Midlands 60 (53%) 37 (33%) 2 (2%) 6 (5%) 25 (22%)
NATIONAL 52% 37% 5% 10% 18%
**This has a different baseline number (i.e. different total number of people who responded); hence the % don’t match.
 

Cadent

Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

Cadent Gas Ltd is majority owned by a consortium of global investors.

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

Media contacts

Kevin Hegarty

kevin.hegarty@cadentgas.com

07970 694 897