During a hurricane, your natural gas appliances shouldn't usually requrie any special preparations. This is because natural gas lines are buried underground and are not usually affected by the storm. In addition, natural gas is monitored by the utility company during the event of a hurricane. However, during severe storms or in case of severe flooding, sometimes gas pipelines may be exposed or rupture. If you are concerned about serious damage, you can shut off natural gas appliances in your home at the shut off valve for each appliance, but do not shut off your natural gas at the meter. It should be left on to to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping in the house, and also to prevent water from getting into the pipe lines in case of flooding.
In the case of evacuation, it is your choice whether or not to turn off natural gas to indoor appliances. Just make sure the thermostat is in the off position before leaving. For outdoor natural gas appliances or tanks, turn the shut off valve to the off position. If debris strikes the outdoor appliances or tanks, this could prevent natural gas leaks from damaged appliances or tanks.
Before attempting to turn on or operate any switches, you should check around the natural gas appliances for the smell of natural gas. Natural gas has a rotting egg smell. If you notice any pipes or connections that have been moved or seem like they may be damaged, but you do not smell gas, you can apply some soapy water to the connections and watch for bubbles to indicate a leak. If you smell gas or locate a potential gas leak, you should not attempt to remedy the situation by yourself. Call the utility company or emergency services after leaving the area where the gas can be smelled. Natural gas can produce carbon monoxide or explode.
If no gas smell is apparent, no connections have been disturbed, and your appliances are undamaged, using your gas appliances should be safe.
If you have a natural gas generator it should be checked for operability prior to the storm’s arrival. A natural gas generator returns electricity to the structure and will continue providing electricity until the primary power source is restored.
Generators are not usually required for gas powered appliances except in the case of electric sparking ignitions. Even then, these appliances can have their pilot lights manually started. This includes gas lighting, natural gas water heaters, and gas cook stoves.
In general, natural gas does not pose a high risk during hurricanes. Just use caution and common sense, and make sure there is no hint of natural gas in the air before resuming the use of a natural gas appliance. If the smell of natural gas is present, leave the area and call for help.