Natural gas pipelines and services run under our streets and footpaths and to our homes.

Pipes are made of strong yellow plastic (called polyethylene) and they range in size from 1 centimetre to 10 centimetres in diameter.

If people dig into these pipelines, the pipes can be damaged and natural gas can leak out. If this gas is ignited, a dangerous fire can result.

If your family or someone you know is planning a digging project, such as building a home, installing a sprinkler system or planting a tree or vegetable garden, remind them to call Vector 0800 B4 U DIG (0800 248 344) before they start digging so they can find out whether there are pipes in the area.

How do people find out where the gas pipes are?

Vector has maps which show where the gas network is and a tracer wire is buried with some pipes so that they can be located using an electronic locator. Sometimes marker tape is also buried above a pipeline which is a warning to people that a pipe is nearby and to stop digging.

How deep are the pipes buried?

Vector's pipelines can be from 40 centimetres to more than 1.2 metres underground, depending of the pressure and location.

Other tips for staying safe around gas
  • Gas appliances use flames so it is important to keep your homework, clothing and toys away.
  • If you smell gas, tell an adult. If no adult is at home, leave the house and take everyone with you. Do not use a light switch, garage door opener, match, torch, phone or cellphone – a spark could ignite the gas. Ask an adult to call 111 or do so yourself when you are outside of the home, if you can't find an adult.
  • If the burners on your stove have a blue flame, then everything is working correctly. If your flame is large and yellow and flickering, then ask an adult to have the stove checked out by a qualified repair person.
  • Don't play with oven knobs because you could accidentally turn on the gas.
  • If you have a gas heater on, make sure the room is ventilated and air can circulate freely. Try opening a window slightly.
  • Don't play with the gas meter.