As the winter storm descends upon New York City and is expected to continue through the weekend, National Grid advises residents to take necessary precautions with gas meters, vents and natural gas appliances that could be damaged by the buildup of ice and heavy snow.
Ice and snow around vents can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to back up into a building, resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning.
National Grid adds a harmless substance called mercaptan to its natural gas. The substance has a strong rotten egg odor to enable customers to identify if there’s a gas leak present.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu including headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.
If you suspect a natural gas leak, take the following action immediately:
- Get Out - All occupants should leave the house immediately. Open windows to ventilate. Do not use the telephone or light switches for any reason.
- Call National Grid – After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call the National Grid 24-hour gas emergency number for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island at 718-643-4050, on Long Island and the Rockaways call 1-800-490-0045.
- Stay Out - Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.
Also, in preparation for the storm, National Grid has announced it will be stocking up on equipment and increasing overnight staffing in low-lying, flood-prone areas, with additional field and support personnel patrolling natural gas facilities.
In addition, customer contact offices will be increasing staffing and support personnel and ensuring that crew locations are fully stocked with equipment to repair service as needed.