Cooler temperatures lead to more natural gas leaks

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - As temperatures continue to drop, neighbors are turning on their natural gas appliances. It's keeping Virginia Beach firefighters busy.

"Within the City of Virginia Beach, we get calls for gas leaks daily," says firefighter Ben Hauser. "This time of year, people are turning on their furnaces for the first time. They are turning on different appliances that have natural gas to them."

Natural gas leaks are extremely dangerous, and while not common, they can lead to house fires and even explosions.

"It is very dangerous, especially when it is released within a residence where it has nowhere to escape," explains Hauser. "Something as small as a light switch or a match can really set that off."

Natural gas has a very distinct smell similar to rotten eggs. Hauser says if you smell this in your home, don't look for the source of it. Instead, just leave your home and call 911.

"If you smell it, go ahead and get out of the house. It’s the safest thing to do," he said.

Fire departments are equipped with special tools that can determine how much natural gas is inside a home. You can help them on scene by sharing which appliances in your home have natural gas.

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