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How to avoid a gas explosion: 5 tips that can save your life

by Jeff Rossen and Jovanna Billington /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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On Wednesday, an explosion in Portland, Oregon, injured eight people, including emergency responders. According to officials, the culprit was a gas leak.

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Believe it or not, gas explosions are more common than you think. So what can you do if you hear a hissing sound, or smell gas inside your home? Capt. James Altman of the Santa Monica Fire Department offered TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen a number of tips:

  1. Check the stove: If it's safe, walk over to your stove and make sure all your burners are turned off. It's a common mistake: Someone bumps into the stove, and the gas is accidentally turned on.
  2. Keep the lights off: Don't turn the lights on, as that could spark an explosion if gas is present. Make sure you have a flashlight handy.
  3. Open all the doors and windows: Make sure you ventilate the house. Keep doors and windows open, that'll help get any gases out.
  4. Know where your gas meter is located: When there isn't an emergency, go outside your home and check to see where your meter is, and how to operate it. You can shut it off if you smell gas. Use a wrench to turn the valve from the on to off positions.
  5. Get out: Finally, you should make sure you evacuate your home. Get a safe distance away — across the street will work. Once you feel safe, dial 911.

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