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Gas Line Safety Tips

Of all emergency preparedness efforts, gas lines deserve extra consideration-both in the event of natural disasters and for day-to-day living.

If not properly installed, monitored, and maintained, natural gas is without question the most potentially dangerous item in your home. Gas can cause instant flash fires and devastating explosions that can result from negligence and carelessness.

Don't pour concrete or put asphalt around the rigid gas delivery pipe leading to the meter. This pipe must remain in soft and pliable dirt to safely ride out any seismic activity.

An exposed gas meter is always susceptible to damage or being dislodged by contact. For protection from housework and gardening, and to keep gas meters near driveways and sidewalks from being hit, place two heavy metal pipes in concrete (much like you would set a fence post) in front of and on both sides of the gas meter.

To keep the gas line shutoff wrench handy and easily accessible in a gas emergency, attach it to the main line at the shutoff valve with a piece of chain and a hose clamp. If you ever have to close the main gas valve, only rotate the bar on the valve one-quarter turn so that it runs across the gas line (closed) rather than parallel to it (open).

Inspect all gas line connections in your home. Those leading to appliances, furnaces, and water heaters should only be a corrugated stainless steel or a new epoxy-coated flexible connector with a shut off valve where it meets the solid gas delivery line.

Always call before you dig. There are many types of underground lines serving your home-ranging from gas and electricity to water, telephone, and cable TV -- and they are often only a few feet below the surface. So before you dig a ditch, sink a fence post, or plant a tree or bush, call your local utility companies for location information.