JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As Action News Jax closely monitors Idalia and its impacts in our local area, what can natural gas customers do to protect themselves and their families?
Atlanta Gas Light has provided the following guidelines associated with natural gas safety before, during and after the storm:
- Customers are encouraged to know the location of their natural gas meter.
- Following a weather emergency, customers should ensure the natural gas meter is visible, and the area surrounding the meter is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or an underground gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area, and call your local natural gas provider or dial 911. Atlanta Gas Light 24-hour emergency response line is 1-877-427-4321.
- Customers are advised to leave their natural gas service operational during a hurricane or severe storm. Most modern gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of natural gas automatically with a loss of gas pressure or flooding of the appliances.
- Leaving appliances operational could prevent further damage of water getting into the customer’s fuel line or appliance control valves. Electronic ignition appliances will not come on when the power source has been impacted.
- If you are uncomfortable leaving your appliances operational, contact a trained professional (certified plumber or HVAC representative) to shut off your appliances at the shut-off valves. When it is safe to do so, have them return to turn the valves back on, leak test the line and turn on and test the appliance for safe operation.
- If flooding occurs at a residence or business and the gas appliances are under water, customers are advised not to operate their appliances until a safety inspection is conducted by a certified plumber or HVAC representative
Detecting gas leaks
- If customers smell the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas, they should leave the area immediately and move a safe distance away from the potential leak, while avoiding any action that may cause sparks.
- Look for blowing dirt, discolored vegetation or continued bubbling in standing water.
- Customers should never try to identify the source of a leak or stop the leak themselves.
- Avoid using any sources of ignition, such as cell phones, cigarettes, matches, flashlights, electronic devices, motorized vehicles, light switches or landlines, as natural gas can ignite from a spark or open flame, possibly causing a fire or explosion.
- Strong winds and saturated ground could cause trees to become uprooted. Before removing downed trees, customers should contact Georgia 811 by to have the location of underground utility lines marked because downed trees could become tangled with the utility lines.
- If a natural gas meter is damaged or natural gas line is exposed, customers should immediately leave the area and call their natural gas company or 911 from a safe location.
Natural Gas Generators
- During a power outage, natural gas generators can provide continuous fuel supply from an existing natural gas line. While these units are available in a range of sizes to meet various energy needs, customers are encouraged to contact their local natural gas provider prior to the installation to determine whether their service line and meter meets load requirements for the generator’s safe and efficient operation.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
- To ensure the safe, proper operation of natural gas appliances, and to prevent the potentially hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide within your home or business, ensure that outdoor vent openings and air intakes are not obstructed.
- If customers smell natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present in their home or business, they should immediately leave the area and call their natural gas provider or 911 from a safe location.
- Residents are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately if anyone in their home or business experiences possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
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