Gas Emergency in France: Who To Call And What To Do If You Smell Gas

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Gas leaks are a very serious matter, and knowing what to do in case of such an emergency can be life-saving. Learn about how to detect a gas leak in France, who to call and what steps to take if you suspect you or others around you are at risk.

What to do if you smell gas

Contacting the Gas Emergency Services in France


If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, you should report it as soon as possible directly to the GRDF Gas Safety and Assistance Call Centre, by calling 0 800 47 33 33 (available 24/7 and free from a fixed line).

You can also contact the French fire brigade at 18, or the European Emergency Phone Number by calling 112 from a mobile phone (free number which has the benefit of offering assistance in English.

Below is a recap of the numbers you can contact to get help:

Emergency numbers in case of a gas leak
Entity Phone number
GRDF Gas Safety and Assistance Call Centre 0 800 47 33 33
French Fire Brigade 18
European Emergency Phone Number 112

It’s a good idea to keep these number saved in your phone and displayed on your fridge for instance, so as not to be able to get help as soon as possible in critical situations

Precautionary measures to take in the event of a gas leak

It is important to be aware of what to do if ever you were to be confronted to a gas leak, so as to act quickly and limit the danger caused to you or those around you. So, if you suspect a gas emergency, you should immediately take the following steps:

  • Open all doors and windows in the area where the odour is coming from
  • Shut the gas supply tap
  • Do not use, plug or unplug any electric devices (lights, lift, mobile phone, torch…) and only use your phone to ring the emergency services once you are outside and away from the incident
  • Do not smoke or light a match
  • Leave the premises as soon as possible
  • Ring the emergency services
  • If you have any, notify your neighbours of the hazard
  • Wait outside for the emergency services to arrive.

Physical symptoms to look out for to detect a gas leak


Mains gas is naturally odourless, but it is artificially odorised in order to make it detectable to the human senses and prevent intoxication. The first sign of a gas leak to look out for will thus obviously be if you smell gas on your home.

This said, other physical gas leak symptoms are to look out for, namely:

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty to breathing.

If you or anyone in your house or apartment is experiencing these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical assistance. Exposure to carbon monoxide is a very serious matter that can lead to heavy complications, such as brain damage, vision loss, heart disease or even harm to unborn babies.

What causes a gas leak?

A gas leak can have several causes, but can most often be linked to a faulty pipework, a faulty appliance, or an appliance that hasn’t been properly installed or maintained. This is why it is so important to make sure gas appliances, such as cookers or gas boilers, are installed by a certified professional, and that the mandatory boiler maintenance procedure is systematically carried out on a yearly basis.

Preventing a gas leak in your house or apartment

A simple step to take to avoid gas emergencies is to invest in a carbon monoxide detector, as these are the first line of defence when it comes to safety at home. Just make sure the detector is fitted in the near vicinity of a boiler by a certified professional, and test the batteries regularly.

Checking gas appliances regularly


Another preventative measure to take to prevent gas leaks in your house or your apartmentis to look out for the signs of a faulty boiler, namely:

  • The colour of the flame burning: it should always be blue and not orange or yellow (if so, this is a sign of incomplete combustion and can lead to the production of carbon monoxide)
  • The pilot light: it should be on constantly and not keep blowing out
  • A patch of black or brown on your boiler (this indicates soot)
  • A smell of must and/or soot in the area around the device 
  • Excessive amounts of condensation on the windows

Once again, it is important to remember to get your appliances both installed and serviced once a year by a certified professional, to ensure gas safety for you and those around you.

Need to replace your boiler or what to subscribe to a servicing contract?If so, to find your ideal gas boiler and/or contract at the best price, you can start by getting a free and instant gas boiler quote today

In all cases, if you ever suspect a gas appliance isn’t working properly you should refrain from using it until you get it checked professionally.