PSE&G Simulated Gas Emergency Delivers Hands-On Training

PSE&G, first responders, and local safety professionals recently staged a four-hour simulated gas emergency near the Essex Pool and Ice Rink parking lots in Montclair, New Jersey.

PSE&G’s first gas safety drill of 2024 focused on keeping the public safe in the event of a damaged underground gas line. The simulation also covered incident commands and evacuation procedures. The utility is planning seven additional gas safety drills this year.

“Our utmost priority is safeguarding our communities, our customers, and our employees. This drill offers a chance to rehearse, verify and enhance our gas emergency response, ensuring seamless coordination beyond simulated scenarios,” said PSE&G Vice President of Gas Operations Brian Clark.“ 

“Hands-on training is incredibly valuable. Our customers trust that we’re keeping our gas systems safe and secure, and this exercise helps prepare us for emergencies. It lets us get to know our first-responder partners in advance, which improves communication and coordination during actual emergencies,” Clark added.  

Gas Emergencies Have Distinct Procedures

Protocols for responding to a gas leak are different from responding to a fire. For example, the evacuation distance is further for a gas emergency, turning off power may not be possible, and automatic generators or solar panels can be potential sources of ignition. 

In 2023, PSE&G responded to 853 calls concerning excavation damages (736 gas and 117 electric). The utility responds to 99.9 percent of gas emergency calls within one hour. Many of these leaks are avoidable with a simple call to 811 to request a free markout of underground pipes and cables before digging. Digging without knowledge of the location of underground utilities can result in: serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs. 

“PSE&G’s commitment to safety and preparedness is evident through exercises like today’s gas leak simulation,” said Montclair Fire Chief John Grapes. “These drills aren’t just about practice; they’re about safeguarding our communities and responders. By coordinating with local agencies and conducting realistic scenarios, we enhance our readiness for worst-case situations.” 

About the Drill

Participants included: PSE&G, Montclair Police Department, Montclair Emergency Medical Services, New Jersey Natural Gas, South Jersey Industries, Con Edison, New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, and New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. 

These safety exercises and training initiatives are part of ongoing efforts to educate community members within PSE&G’s service area about emergency preparedness.

Prevention is Key 

PSE&G offers these tips:

  • Call 811 at least three and no more than 10 business days before each job to have underground pipes, conduits, wires and cables located and marked. Markouts remain valid for 45 business days. 
  • Before work begins by excavators, contractors or customers, confirm that a call to 811 has been made and the markout was completed. By law, all digging projects require a call to 811. 
  • Both property owners and contractors must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within 2 feet of marked lines, or the area known as the Tolerance Zone, to find the existing facility. 

Various colors are used when marking lines; to learn what each color represents, visit

If You Smell Gas

Leave the building as quickly as possible and move 350 feet away from the structure. Take all others with you. If you smell gas outside, move well away from where you suspect the gas is leaking.  

Call 911 immediately and call PSE&G at 1-800-880-PSEG (7734). (Do NOT call from inside the building. Wait until you are outside and a safe distance to call.) 

Learn More About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. More information about carbon monoxide and other gas safety tips are available on our website. 

Cindy Capitani is the Communications & Content Manager at the Meadowlands Chamber. Send press releases and inquiries to