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.

American Gas Association
J.U.L.I.E. - to Electronlically report prior to digging:

  • Gas Safety

    Safety flyer for all Natural Gas Service Customers of Mt. Carmel Public Utility Co.

     Download PDF
  • Electric Safety

    Safety flyer for all Electric Service Customers of Mt. Carmel Public Utility Co.

     Download PDF

Tree Trimming Program

Please contact our office at (618)262-5151 with any questions regarding our tree trimming program.

Spring Safety Tips

Know How to Stay Safe After Storms

Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding can leave more than damage in their wake – they can leave hidden dangers as well. Safe Electricity advises everyone to be mindful of the electrical hazards that storms and flooding can leave behind.

Stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live. Warn others to stay away and contact the electric utility.

Before re-entering a storm-damaged building or room, make sure that all electric and gas services have been turned off. If you cannot reach your breaker box safely, contact MCPU to have them shut the power off at the meter.

Never step in to a flooded basement or other area if water is covering electrical outlets, appliances or cords. Be alert to any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water. Never touch electrical appliances, cords or wires while you are wet or standing in water.

If using electric yard tools in clean-up efforts, do not operate them if it’s raining or the ground is wet, or while you are wet or standing in water. Keep all electric tools and equipment at least ten feet away from wet surfaces.

If you are driving and come upon a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away and contact emergency personnel or the electric utility. Never drive over a downed line. A downed line causes other things around it to become potentially hazardous.

If you are in a car which has come in contact with a downed power line, stay in your vehicle. If you must leave your car jump free keeping both feet together and either shuffle or hop to safety. A live wire touching the ground causes electricity to fan out in a pool and the action of running or striding allows one foot to move from one voltage zone to another. Your body then becomes the path for the electricity and electrocution is the tragic result.

Carbon Monoxide

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
  • Unconsciousness

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