PSE&G, Harrison First Responders Conduct Gas Emergency Response Exercise

Call 811 before you dig to prevent gas emergencies; Learn more about gas safety


(Harrison, N.J. – May 21, 2024) PSE&G is committed to maintaining a safe gas distribution system. As part of our commitment, the utility today partnered with first responders from Harrison in a safety exercise that simulated a gas emergency.

The four-hour exercise allowed PSE&G and local safety professionals to practice keeping the public safe in the event of a heavy natural gas odor outdoors. The exercise, in the Red Bull Arena, also provided the opportunity to test incident command and evacuation procedures. 

"Safeguarding our communities, customers, and employees is our top priority," said Brian Clark, vice president, PSE&G Gas Operations. "These exercises enhance our emergency response and coordination to protect lives effectively."

Fire Department Battalion Chief Joseph Faugno, said: “Today's drill was truly a collaborative effort between the Township of Harrison and PSE&G to ensure that our first responders are aware of the potential dangers, and properly trained on how to handle a crisis. Proactive planning like this is essential for safety.” 

Faugno went on to say, “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.”

“We were honored to host today’s gas exercise in the Red Bull Arena,” said Shaun Oliver, vice president of operations, Red Bull Arena. “As a local community partner in Harrison, it’s great to see PSE&G and local authorities proactively practice these drills to safeguard the community.”
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.

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.

Exercise participants and observers included representatives from PSE&G, Harrison Police Department, Harrison 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.

This event marked PSE&G’s second gas safety exercise this year, with six more planned. The first was held in Montclair, New Jersey on May 6, 2024. 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:

  • 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

What to do 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:

More information about 811 are available at or on the PSE&G website: #Call811   #CallBeforeYouDig   #PSEGSafety

Public Service Electric & Gas Co. is New Jersey’s oldest and largest gas and electric delivery public utility, as well as one of the nation’s largest utilities. PSE&G is the 2022 Edison Award recipient from the Edison Electric Institute. PSE&G has won the ReliabilityOne® Award for superior electric system reliability in the Mid-Atlantic region for 22 consecutive years. For the third consecutive year, PSE&G is the recipient of the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award in the Energy Efficiency Program Delivery category. In addition, in 2023 J.D. Power named PSE&G number one in customer satisfaction with residential and business electric service in the east among large utilities. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a predominantly regulated infrastructure company focused on a clean energy future and has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America for 16 consecutive years (