SoCalGas offers safety tips following earthquake in Japan
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—In the wake of the powerful earthquake that struck Japan, Southern California Gas Co. today reminded customers that advance preparation is critical in getting ready for the next major temblor in the Southland.
The utility offered a series of preparedness tips to help reduce the chance of injuries or property damage from a quake. Before an earthquake:
• Securely strap water heaters to prevent them from moving or toppling over. The water heater should be fastened securely to the wall studs in two places—the upper and lower one-third of the tank—with heavy bolts and metal straps.
• Replace semi-rigid (aluminum or copper) gas appliance connectors with approved connectors made of corrugated metal, which are less likely to crack during an earthquake. Connectors and water heater strapping kits are available at most hardware and home improvement stores.
• Know where the natural gas meter is located. Gas meters are commonly located above ground next to the home on the side, front or back, but may also be in a cabinet or underground.
• Have a 12-inch or larger adjustable wrench handy to manually turn off the gas meter should it be necessary if a gas leak is suspected after an emergency.
After an earthquake:
• Do not turn off the gas meter after an earthquake unless you smell gas, hear the sound of gas escaping or see other signs of a gas leak and only if it is safe to do so. Once the gas has been turned off, it may take SoCalGas several days to restore service, depending on the magnitude of the emergency.
Do not attempt to turn the gas back on yourself.
• If there is an apparent gas leak, remain calm. Do not light a match, candle or cigarette, and do not turn electrical devices—not even a light switch—on or off, or use any other device or equipment that may cause a spark. Note that gas leaking from a plastic pipe can cause static electricity which can ignite the gas. From a safe location, call SoCalGas at 1-800-427-2200
—or 1-800-342-4545 in Spanish—24 hours a day, seven days a week; or call 911.
• If a gas leak is suspected and it is safe to do so, turn the gas off at the meter. Using an adjustable wrench, make a quarter-turn of the valve, moving it from a vertical position to a horizontal position. This will shut off the flow of gas. (A diagram and instructions for turning off the gas meter are printed in the "Survival Guide" section of most telephone directory white
pages and is also available at socalgas.com).
• If the gas is shut off at the meter, do not turn it back on without the help of SoCalGas. Gas service should not be restored until SoCalGas determines that the customer's facilities, appliances or other gas equipment are safe.
The company's service territory encompasses about 20,000 square miles throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.
For more natural gas safety information, visit the utility's website at socalgas.com/safety.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Southern California Gas Co. clients were urged today to use common sense when heating their homes this winter.
“With the cold and wet weather, we’re seeing an increase in the use of home heaters, and that translates into higher heating bills,” said Bret Lane, vice president of field services for SoCal Gas.
“To help keep a lid on heating costs while staying warm and dry this winter, we encourage customers to continue to practice conservation and use energy efficiently.”
Southern California Gas Co. is reminding customers to call 811 before they dig, whether in the garden or at construction sites. Calling 811 or Underground Service Alert may help them avoid possible injury or damage to hidden gas lines or service interruption, the utility says.
Even such “minor projects” as putting up a new wall or fence, building a deck, planting or removing large trees or any other renovations can result in damage to gas lines if they aren’t located prior to the work.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Japan's consul general today thanked members of a Los Angeles County urban search and rescue team sent to the earthquake-ravaged island nation and urged Southern Californians to consider vacationing to Japan.
Standing in front of firefighters and at least one canine rescuer, Junichi Ihara expressed the nation's "sincere gratitude'' to the search and rescue squad, which he said was "one of the first to mobilize and spring into action when the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit.
PACOIMA, Calif.—A Los Angeles County Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue team was mobilizing today at its Pacoima facility for deployment to Japan to assist in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in that country.
Task Force 2 was mobilizing at the USAR facility at 12650 Osborne St. The team will fly out of Los Angeles International Airport as soon as arrangements are finalized, county fire Inspector Matt Levesque said about 10 a.m.
Southern California Gas Co. customers may qualify to receive a high-efficiency clothes washer as part of its Energy Savings Assistance Program.
The purpose is to help low-income customers reduce their energy use by offering no-cost, energy-saving home improvements, including the installation of the washer, to customers who qualify. It is estimated that 1.8 million customers may be eligible to enroll in the program, but have not yet done so.