Natural Gas Properties


Firefighters, police, and EMTs are typically first on the scene in an emergency and face the greatest risk from natural gas leaks and fires. Understanding the properties of natural gas can help you respond more effectively to a variety of incidents.

  • Natural gas is lighter than air and will move laterally or migrate upward when underground or in enclosed spaces.
  • Natural gas has a flammable concentration range between about 4% and 15% gas to air. At concentrations below 4% or above 15%, natural gas will not burn.
  • Gas can accumulate in storm drains, construction trenches, buildings, and other utility lines. As gas concentrations rise or fall, they can pass through the explosive range.
  • Natural gas ignition temperatures can range between 900 and 1,170 degrees.

The guidance on this website is designed to supplement, not replace, your department's standard operating procedures (SOPs).