Stay Safe with These Tips
Natural Gas Safety
Mt. Carmel Public Utility Co. located at 316 Market Street, in compliance with federal code RP 1162 Public Awareness Program, would like to inform you that a high-pressure gas line could be located in the vicinity of your residence or business. This gas line is for the purpose of supplying natural gas in a safe and reliable manner.
All gas mains, service lines, and meter installations are leak surveyed at least within a three year period to help discover any potential gas leak hazards. Corrosion control is applied to coated steel pipe, and tested at one year intervals.
Natural gas is lighter than air and has no odor. To help you detect the presence of natural gas, a strong odorant, a mercaptan mixture that smells like sulfur or “rotten eggs”, is added so that you can smell a leak immediately. Everyone in your family should learn to recognize this smell.
If you smell a faint odor near an appliance:
Make sure all the pilot lights are lit. If you find a pilot light extinguished, open the windows and doors to vent the area and wait 15 minutes before relighting the pilot light. If the odor persists, call MCPU anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7), at (618)262-5151 (toll free at 1-877-262-7036). Investigating gas odor complaints is a free service of MCPU.
If you smell gas inside your home or business and the smell is a strong, persistent natural gas odor, or you hear a hissing or leaking sound you should:
1. Immediately leave the building (home or office), taking everyone with you (including pets), and leave all doors and windows open behind you.
2. Call from a nearby telephone at a safe distance by dialing (618) 262-5151 or 1-877-262-7036.
3. Do not re-enter the building until MCPU officials have inspected and declared the area safe.
In these conditions:
DO NOT use matches, lighters, electrical switches, any appliances, telephones, cellular phones, computers, elevators or garage door openers.
DO NOT touch electrical outlets, switches or doorbells
DO NOT smoke, use a lighter, match or other open flame.
Remember that any gas piping downstream of the gas meter is customer owned, and is the responsibility of the customer to maintain this portion of the natural gas line. Customer owned gas lines should be checked regularly by a qualified plumbing or heating professional for leaks and signs of corrosion. Any unsafe conditions should be repaired immediately, if found.
Before you excavate, Illinois law requires that you call J.U.L.I.E. toll free at 811 or 1-800-892-0123, 24/7. It’s a free service to locate and mark underground utilities including water, electric, telephone, cable TV, natural gas lines, and other facilities. MCPU does not locate customer owned natural gas, or customer owned electric underground lines. Examples of customer owned lines might include yard lights, gas grills, and swimming pool heaters.
For your safety, never use your gas oven or range to heat your home. Space heaters are designed to add warmth but should not be a main source of heating. Remember to turn these appliances off before you go to bed or leave your home.
Know your gas meter location and exercise care when shoveling, plowing, mowing, or snow blowing in the area around the gas meter installation. If for any reason you need your gas shut off to your residence or business call MCPU and we will be happy to assist you.
For additional natural gas information or gas emergency please call (618) 262-5151 or toll free 1-877-262-7036.
General Safety Information
These are some additional safety resources for utility customers.
Tree Trimming Program
Please contact our office at (618)262-5151 with any questions regarding our tree trimming program.
Winter Safety Tips
Winter can bring thoughts of gently falling snow or sparkling ice, but it can also bring unpredictable weather with high winds, whiteouts, and ice storms. This can cause hazardous roads and power outages.
If the electricity goes out due to a winter storm, make sure to contact MCPU as soon as you can so they know you have lost power. Other actions you can take to stay safe and comfortable are:
- Stay inside, and dress warm.
- Close off unneeded rooms.
- When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards, and be sure to properly ventilate. Always keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby, and know how to use it.
- Place draft block at the bottom of doors to minimize cold drafts from entering the house.
- Cover windows at night.
- Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 are often more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you cannot keep your home warm.
Winter can bring a variety of weather patterns ranging from mild snows to severe blizzards. To prepare for winter storms, pay attention to weather forecasts and understand the difference between the warnings provided by the National Weather Service:
- Winter Storm Warning – issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, freezing rain, or sleet is coming or occurring. The warnings are issued 12 to 24 hours prior to the storm.
- Winter Storm Watch – alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, freezing rain, or sleet. Watches are issued 12 to 48 hours before the storm.
- Winter Storm Outlook– this is given when winter storm conditions are possible and are issued three to five days in advance of a winter storm.
- Blizzard Warning – issued for gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow that creates visibilities of a fourth of a mile or less. These conditions usually last at least three hours.
For more information on how to keep your family safe during and after a winter storm, visit SafeElectricity.org.
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas produced when heating systems are not working correctly. You can't smell, taste, or see carbon monoxide. That makes it very dangerous. Carbon monoxide can build up inside a house because of incomplete combustion and cause severe sickness and even death.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Sudden flu-like illness
- Dizziness, headaches, sleepiness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fluttering or throbbing heartbeat
- Cherry-red lips, unusually pale complexion
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Get the victim out of the house and into fresh air immediately
- Call 911 or emergency medical help at once
- Get everyone else out of the house
- Open the windows
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Be alert for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms and replace them every five years
- Never operate internal combustion engines indoors
- Never use a charcoal grill indoors
- Have all fuel-burning appliances, flues, vents, and chimneys checked regularly
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
Make sure your home is equipped with working CO alarms.
- Illinois law requires every home and apartment to have a CO alarm within 15 feet of sleeping areas
- For added safety, consider installing a CO alarm in each bedroom
- In two-story homes, install at least one CO alarm on each level
- Change the batteries in CO alarms at the beginning of winter and then every six months
- Replace CO alarms older than five years