Gas leaks and odour

How do you know when there’s a natural gas leak?

If you smell rotten eggs or hear the sound of escaping gas, it could be a natural gas leak. Remember:

  1. Stop what you're doing. Do not use your cellphone or landline, don’t smoke, light matches or operate electrical switches or create any other source of ignition.
  2. Go outside. As you exit, leave the door open behind you as well as any windows that may already be open.
  3. Call us. Once outside, call the FortisBC Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours) or 911.

Mercaptan: the smell of safety

Natural gas is naturally odourless. So we add trace amounts of a pungent chemical called mercaptan to our natural gas because we want you to smell it if there’s a leak. Mercaptan is derived from naturally occurring compounds like hydrogen sulphide, which has a strong smell even in very low concentrations. So if you catch a whiff of something that smells like boiled eggs that have been left in your lunch bag for a few days, it’s a signal to leave the area and call for help. 

Want to learn more? Watch the video of Global BC’s tour of our gas odour lab to learn how and why mercaptan gets added to our natural gas.