Emergencies

What to do if you smell gas, have a problem with your electricity supply or suspect a carbon monoxide leak.

Gas emergencies

If you can smell gas or suspect a gas leak at your property, call the National Gas Emergency Helpline immediately on 0800 111 999.

If you smell gas

  • don't smoke, light matches or cigarette lighters.
  • don't turn light switches or anything electrical on or off.
  • put out any naked flames, such as candles.
  • open all the doors and windows.
  • Call the National Gas Emergency Helpline immediately on 0800 111 999.
  • Turn off the gas supply if it’s safe to do so, using the handle attached to the Emergency Control Valve (ECV*). You can normally find this next to the meter.
    • The ECV when ‘on’ will be in line with the pipe and valve.
    • Turn the ECV handle a quarter turn so the lever is at 90 degrees (right angle) to the ECV’s body.
    • If the ECV is stuck or too stiff to move, you should evacuate the property immediately.
  • Don't go into a cellar if your meter is located there as there may be a build-up of dangerous fumes.

Don't turn the supply back on until the source of the smell of gas has been investigated and any escape of gas is repaired.

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Electricity emergencies

If you have a power cut or you've had problems with the power lines in your area, call Distribution Network Operators free on 105.

Power cut

If your electricity goes off, start by checking to see if it's a power cut or a fault in your home. The easiest way to do this is to see if your neighbours still have electricity. If they don't have power either, then it's a power cut. You can get more information and help by calling 105. It's free from most landlines and mobiles.

If your neighbours have power, then it could be a fault in your home.

Your trip switch may have turned itself off. Your trip switch turns itself off to make sure you don't get injured by a faulty appliance. Once you've found the faulty appliance and turned it off you can turn your trip switch back on. If you still have problems, please contact a local electrician.

If you've got a prepayment meter

If it's not a power cut and you have credit on your meter, you need to speak to our prepayment team on 0345 303 3040. They'll assess the fault and let you know what to do next.

If you've got a credit meter

  • Make sure your fuses, circuit breakers, trip switches and isolator switches are all in the on position, if not, reset them.
  • If you still haven't got power, or one or more of your trip switches keeps on tripping, then there is likely to be a problem with one of your appliances or part of the internal wiring.
  • To find out which appliance or area of wiring may be at fault, turn everything off, reset all your trip switches, and slowly switch everything back on one room at time.
  • After identifying the problem, you’ll need to ask a qualified electrician to investigate further. If an appliance is at fault, and still within warranty, you should contact the retailer or manufacturer.
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Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that you can’t see, taste or smell. It’s made when carbon-based fuels, like gas, oil, wood and coal don’t burn properly, which is why it’s really important to make sure your appliances are fitted in the right way and checked regularly. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning caused by faulty or badly fitted or maintained appliances can lead to serious health problems. It kills around 15 people a year in the UK.

How to tell if you've got a carbon monoxide leak

Fitting an audible detector that will let you know straight away if there’s a carbon monoxide leak from an appliance that has a problem with the flue or hasn't got enough ventilation is a good extra precaution, but it shouldn’t be done in place of having your appliance(s) fitted and checked by an approved engineer. Telltale signs are:

  • Yellow or brown stains on, or near an appliance.
  • A pilot light that keeps going out.
  • More condensation than normal on the inside of windows.
  • A yellow flame instead of a blue one (apart from flueless fires).

What to do if you think you've got a carbon monoxide leak

  • Switch off the appliance and don’t use it again until an approved engineer has checked it.
  • Open all your doors and windows. 
  • Don't smoke, light a match or do anything that could cause a spark.
  • Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to check any appliances that you think might be leaking.
  • Tell your GP even if you don’t feel unwell and ask for either a blood or breath test to check for carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If someone feels unwell take them outside in the fresh air straight away and call 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency department (A&E). 

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Symptoms can be very similar to many common illnesses like flu or food poisoning, so make sure you tell your GP if you think it could be carbon monoxide poisoning and ask for a blood or breath test to check. 

Common symptoms can include:

  • Headaches,
  • Dizziness,
  • Feeling or being sick,
  • Tiredness or drowsiness,
  • Stomach pain,
  • Difficulty breathing.

The longer you breathe in carbon monoxide, the worse your symptoms will get. Severe symptoms can include:

  • Confusion,
  • Memory loss,
  • Co-ordination problems,
  • Personality changes or unusual behaviour,
  • Tachycardia (a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute),
  • Chest pain caused by angina or a heart attack,
  • Seizures or muscle spasms,
  • Loss of consciousness.

Very high levels of carbon monoxide can kill within minutes, but sometimes symptoms can develop weeks or months after you’ve breathed it in. 

Babies, young children, pregnant women and people with heart or breathing problems may be affected by carbon monoxide more quickly than others.

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