GAS engineers across the region are warming up for winter emergencies after receiving new kit.
Northern Gas Networks has invested in extra 4x4 vehicles and equipped engineers with snow shovels, stores of grit and even spikes to wear on their shoes to make sure they are prepared for a cold snap.
The action comes after the pipeline owner received an unprecedented number of calls about gas escapes in the severe winter of 2010/11.
The company has also issued advice for the public to help keep them safe.
Anyone who smells gas must not smoke, light matches or turn electrical switches on or off. They should open doors and windows, turn the gas tap off at the meter and call the free emergency service, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Customer Operations Director John Suddes said: “We’ve improved the way we work, but we want to make sure that our customers are in no doubt about what to do if they smell gas.
“Call the national gas emergency service on 0800 111999. It’s free and potentially life-saving. Please don’t leave it to someone else to pick up the phone.”