Gas explosions: What are they, how do they happen and what are the best ways to prevent them?

An incident in Roker is bringing the issue to the forefront of local residents’minds.
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The source of the home explosion at an Address in Whickham Street on Tuesday evening is as a result of a suspected gas explosion, so what can Sunderland residents do to ensure their house is safe?

What causes a gas explosion?

Gas leaks are usually a result of poorly fitted or badly maintained appliances which are connected to gas pipes. Faulty appliances can also play a role in gas leaks.

Morning after a gas explosion on Whickham Street, Roker.Morning after a gas explosion on Whickham Street, Roker.
Morning after a gas explosion on Whickham Street, Roker.
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These appliances are often boilers and cookers and if they are badly fitted or faulty, gas can escape from piping, allowing it to enter a home.

In order to avoid these issues, any fittings should be completed by an accredited Gas Safe Register engineer and be regularly checked for signs of wear and tear or decay.

How do explosions happen from gas leaks?

An explosion can happen as a direct result of a gas leak in the presence of a spark or flame. This can come from poorly fitted light switches and plugs in addition to kitchen ovens or hobs. It is important to ensure these are checked regularly for leaks ir signs of degradation.

Gases such as methane, propane and butane are the most common types of gases to cause explosions as these are the most likely to be used in heating homes.

What should I do if I smell gas in my home?

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In order to avoid the worst, any smell of gas within a home should be acted on immediately.

The first step is to turn off the gas supply at the home’s gas meter if this is something which can be done.

Any gas within the home should be dispersed by opening windows and allowing anything within the house to leave into the open air.

While the airing out process is happening, it is recommended to avoid using any light switches as any sparks could result in a reaction with gas.

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Similarly, anything involving naked flames such as the lighting of candles, smoking or using matches should be avoided.

Following this, it is important to call the National Gas emergency number on 0800 111 999. The number is free and available 24 hours a day. An emergency engineer may then assist in finding the leak.

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