In observance of the 13th annual Great California ShakeOut event, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) shared the importance of emergency preparedness. Natural disasters such as earthquakes can happen at any moment, almost always without warning.
SoCalGas encourages customers to be aware of their surroundings after an earthquake and not to turn off their natural gas unless there are signs of a natural gas leak and it is safe to do so.
"The safety of our communities is a priority at SoCalGas and we are proud to participate in The Great California ShakeOut to help bring awareness about the importance of being prepared for an earthquake or other emergency," said Angelica Espinosa, vice president and chief risk officer at SoCalGas. "We want to take this opportunity to educate our customers on some simple steps they can take to help keep their families safe."
California is at a higher risk for earthquakes compared to the rest of United States and natural disasters can happen at any moment. Last year, over 10.9 million Californians participated in the Great California ShakeOut event, which offers many ways for individuals, businesses, schools, and others to practice what to do during and after an earthquake.
"The Great Shakeout event is crucial in helping us all be aware of the risk from earthquakes and take the steps to prevent further harm to ourselves and our families. With the ongoing pandemic, many of us continue to remain sheltered in place at home – it's even more important now than ever to emphasize preparedness actions that can reduce risks from earthquakes," said Dr. Lucy Jones, seismologist and founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society. "Remember to practice drop, cover, and hold on with family and friends to make sure you remain safe in the next real earthquake, and take one other step to protect yourself, your family, and your community."
SoCalGas offers the following tips:
- 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.
- Be prepared to turn off your natural gas meter but ONLY in the event you smell natural gas, hear the sound of natural gas escaping or see other signs of a leak--and ONLY if it is safe to do so. ***Depending on how many customers are without natural gas service, it may take an extended period of time for SoCalGas to turn your natural gas services back on. Remember there may not be a need to shut your natural gas off.
- 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, 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.)
- DO NOT ignite a flame or use any electrical appliances, light switches or other devices that can cause a spark until you are sure there are no gas leaks.
- Check safety devices, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, to ensure that they are functioning properly.