Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

SoCalGas Offers Emergency Preparedness Safety Tips for Great California ShakeOut

October 17, 2013

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Natural disasters and other emergencies can strike without warning. As millions of Californians join in earthquake preparedness drills during the Great ShakeOut, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is reminding customers about the importance of being prepared for California’s next major emergency.

“After a major incident or natural disaster, there’s a good chance that public safety services will be busy handling emergencies,” said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas vice president of field services. “Customer safety is a top priority for SoCalGas and we want to encourage customers to be informed and provide information to help them be ready for an emergency. The best defense is to be prepared at all times.”

SoCalGas offers these safety tips:

Before an emergency

    --  Know where your gas meter is located and keep a 12" or larger adjustable
        wrench with your emergency supplies, near your building exit or next to
        your gas meter shut-off valve. Do not store the wrench on the gas meter
        or other gas piping. Even in the case of an earthquake or other
        emergency, turn off your gas meter if you smell gas, hear gas leaking or
        see other signs of a leak --and ONLY if it is safe to do so.
    --  To help prevent your water heater from moving or toppling in an
        earthquake, strap it firmly to the wall studs in two places --the upper
        and lower one-third of the tank-- with heavy bolts and metal strapping.
        Be sure to place the lower strap at least four inches above the
        thermostat controls. Kits are often available at your local hardware
        store and we recommend having a licensed, qualified professional install
        it for you.
    --  Call SoCalGas or a licensed, qualified professional to replace any
        semi-rigid aluminum or copper gas tubing appliance connectors with an
        approved flexible connector.
    --  Check safety devices, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, to
        ensure that they are functioning properly.
    --  Call SoCalGas or a licensed, qualified professional to inspect your
        furnace and other gas appliances for safe operation and to make any
        needed repairs. Make sure flexible connectors are not subject to damage
        or passing through floors, walls or ceilings.

After an emergency:

    --  DO NOT turn off gas to the meter unless you smell gas, hear the sound of
        gas escaping or see other signs of a leak -- and ONLY if it is safe to
        do so. If you turn off gas to the meter, leave it off. Do not turn it
        back on yourself. Interior gas piping and appliances must be inspected
        for possible damage before service can be safely restored. Call SoCalGas
        to turn the gas back on, to relight the pilots and service your
        appliances. Note that certain repairs may have to be performed by your
        plumber or heating contractor. However, only SoCalGas field employees
        are allowed to turn on the gas to the meter.
    --  For safety, a shut-off valve should be installed at every gas appliance,
        and may be required by state and/or local codes. If a leak occurs at a
        specific appliance, the valve will permit you to turn off the gas at the
        appliance rather than shutting off all gas service at the meter. Some
        valves require a wrench to turn them.
    --  Check your water heater and furnace vents. If the venting system becomes
        separated during an earthquake or other event, it could leak hazardous
        fumes into your home. Do not operate your appliance unless it is
        properly vented.  Signs of an improperly vented appliance may include
        moisture on the inside of windows or an unusual odor when the appliance
        is in operation.
    --  DO NOT ignite a flame or use any electrical appliances, light switches
        or other devices that can cause a spark until you're sure there are no
        gas leaks.
    --  Use flashlights -- NOT lanterns, matches or candles -- to examine
        buildings, as flammable gases may be inside.

For more natural gas safety information, visit www.socalgas.com/safety.

About Southern California Gas Co.

Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).

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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

Source: PR Newswire