Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stinky PSA campaign causes a real-life gas leak panic

Via NY Daily News

Here's a funny one.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, reports of a major natural gas leak in the Montana city's business section caused the evacuation of several buildings yesterday.

The cause? Scratch-n-sniff direct mailers designed to educate the public about what a gas leak smells like:

Nick Bohr, general manager at Energy West, said workers at the company were cleaning out some storage areas and discarded several boxes of scratch-and-sniff cards that it sent out to customers in the past to educate them on what natural gas smells like. 
“They were expired, and they were old,” Bohr said. “They threw them into the Dumpsters.” 
When the cards were picked up by sanitation trucks and crushed, “It was the same as if they had scratched them.”
Natural gas doesn't have a detectable odour of its own, but has a chemical (t-butyl mercaptan or thiophane) added to give it a foul "rotten egg" smell so that people can detect leaks.

Energy West had been distributing the PSA cards to customers as part of a safety awareness campaign.

“In a sense, it worked the way it was supposed to,” commented Nick Bohr, general manager at Energy West, as part of the company's apology for the inconvenience. They also mentioned that there was no public safety or environmental concern about putting the expired cards in the trash.

If you want stinky PSA stickers of your own, you can order them by the thousand here.

Tip via The Consumerist

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