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Earthquake preparedness and natural gas
Article Published 04/18/2016
There are many circumstances and events, such as fires and floods, that can affect the safety of your home. For homeowners in Questar Gas’s service areas, earthquakes are a major cause of concern.
Your preparedness should include an understanding of your natural gas service and how it might be impacted by an earthquake or other major disaster. While no one can accurately predict the damage done
by an earthquake, natural gas pipelines have, in most cases, proven remarkably resistant to earthquake related damage. Most natural gas pipelines are made of high-strength steel or polyethylene plastic. These
pipe materials are flexible enough to withstand significant earth movement without sustaining damage.
There are some important things you can do to increase your personal preparedness for an earthquake or other disaster. Have an emergency plan and acquaint your family with it. Stock emergency supplies and secure breakables. Beyond that, here are a couple of tips for emergency preparedness and your natural gas service.
SECURE YOUR WATER HEATER:
The most common earthquake damage to natural gas appliances and/or equipment occurs when a full, heavy, unstable water heater falls over, potentially damaging both its natural gas and water lines. Make sure your water heater is secured to the wall or the floor to prevent damage. Doing so will also provide a small reserve of clean water in a disaster.
STORE PAINTS, CHEMICALS AND SOLVENTS AWAY FROM NATURAL GAS APPLIANCES:
Don’t give these flammable materials an unnecessary chance to ignite.
KNOW WHEN AND HOW TO TURN YOUR GAS METER OFF:
It’s a good idea to be familiar with the look and sound of your gas meter under everyday conditions, and to know where the shutoff valve is located. Once you’ve secured
yourself and your family, conduct a quick inspection after any incident involving your home. Leave the meter on unless the following conditions exist:
•You smell natural gas;
•You hear natural gas leaking;
•You see structural damage to your home;
•There’s fire in close proximity to your home;
•Questar Gas makes the request for a shutoff --
Then, turn the meter off only if you can do it safely! The shutoff valve is located next to the meter.
Turn the valve a quarter turn in either direction to the “off” position.
Once the meter is shut off, it should only be turned back on by Questar Gas.
-Remember, it may not be necessary to turn your meter off after an earthquake or other disaster.
After a Bay Area earthquake, for example, 156,000 gas meters were turned off. This turned out to be necessary in only about two percent of the cases. Since natural gas meters should only be turned on by a qualified professional, some customers were unnecessarily without gas service for weeks. If that happened in Questar Gas’s service areas during the winter, it could cause additional problems like freezing water pipes.
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SOURCE: Questar Gas