Gas Incident Response

Parking, safeguards and evacuation

If a natural gas leak is detected or suspected, confirm your dispatcher has notified the local gas utility and follow the steps listed in this section.

  • Approach cautiously and stay upwind. A distance of 100 meters (330 feet) is recommended if possible.
  • Park safely out of the collapse zone of involved structures and away from storm drains, manholes and potential gas-filled structures. Turn off the vehicle engine.


  • Never enter a manhole, sewer or any other type of underground vault.
  • Eliminate any potential ignition source, such as vehicle engines, flame-producing devices and anything that could produce sparks. Use intrinsically safe radios and flashlights.
  • If you must approach the incident, involve the minimum number of personnel, and be sure each person is wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
  • If it is safe to do so, monitor the atmosphere using multiple monitors.
  • Maintain a safe standoff distance from buildings with gas.


  • Evacuate the area and nearby structures immediately—per minimum distances in Guide 115 of the DOT Emergency Response Guidebook until further assessment is complete.
  • The incident commander will make the final determination of the extent of the evacuation.
  • Secure the area with caution tape, and reroute traffic if necessary.