Posted in Parent + Parish Education, Preparedness + Supplies

Natural Gas and Emergency Preparedness

In any situation, if you smell gas, leave your house on foot and call NW Natural’s emergency line at 1-800-882-3377.

Natural gas can be hazardous in several contexts. Lourdes came to the Prepare Fair to talk to us about how to be as safe as possible during the following situations: earthquakes, carbon monoxide poisoning, and floods.

Earthquakes

Get your home ready for an earthquake by taking the following steps:

  • Secure any appliances that use natural gas (like your water heater and furnace) to minimize movement during an earthquake.
  • Replace semi-rigid gas connectors with flexible connectors.
  • Keep combustible materials (like paint, oil, and rags) away from your furnace and water heater.
  • Contact a qualified, licensed contractor to install an earthquake shut-off valve – equipment that senses ground movement or shaking, and shuts off the flow of gas automatically.

After an earthquake:

  • Make sure that no flammable items have fallen or spilled near natural gas appliances.
  • If you smell or hear natural gas, call the NW Natural emergency line at 800-882-3377.
  • If possible, turn off your gas – if you’ve already turned it off, leave it off. Call NW Natural to have your service restored. Note that everyone else is in the same boat so it will take awhile for someone to restore your service.
  • If you’ve installed an earthquake shut-off valve, call NW Natural to have a contractor come to reset the valve and relight your natural gas appliances.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide is a gas that’s odorless, poisonous, and potentially fatal. If gas equipment fails, it may cause the natural gas to burn improperly, resulting in the production of carbon monoxide.

(Normally, natural gas is nontoxic and produces only heat, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor.)

Carbon monoxide may be indicated when :

  • There is a yellow flame (normally the flame is blue)
  • You smell combustion odors and see soot around the front of the appliance.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, do the following:

  • Schedule an annual equipment inspection – NW Natural offers this service at no additional charge to its customers – call 503-226-4214 (or see the Customer Service section of NW Natural’s website).
  • Install vents and chimneys properly, and inspect them regularly for improper connections, visible rust, and stains.
  • Keep chimneys and vents free of debris such as leaves, creosite, and animal nests.
  • Install and properly maintain a UL-approved carbon monoxide detector, which can alert you when a certain level of CO is in the air. A CO detector does not replace proper appliance maintenance. NW Natural says to contact the Oregon fire marshal’s office for information regarding proper placement, testing, and maintenance of CO detectors.

 

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