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Preventing Natural Gas Explosions

San Bruno Explosion

Disaster can strike seemingly unexpectedly in our everyday lives, and occasionally it can be on a large and terrible scale. Such was the case with the San Bruno pipeline explosion of 2010, when a natural gas leak resulted in the deaths of eight people, hundreds of millions in damage and the virtual destruction of an entire neighborhood.

Who would answer for the aftermath of the San Bruno tragedy? PG&E, the company responsible for the pipeline infrastructure, is now under a federal grand jury indictment for multiple violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968. The State of California also found that the company was paying executive bonuses with $100 million in funds meant for safety operations. So even if you come across a potential natural gas risk on a smaller scale, you can help prevent any further danger through these steps:

  • Check: Call the Department of Consumer Affairs in order to find out when the last leak survey occurred in your area.
  • Report: Report any signs of gas odor. In the days before the San Bruno explosion, local residents noted a natural gas odor. This should be reported immediately for the safety of your family and community. At the same time, however, some natural gas leaks emit no odor, but they're just as dangerous. Evacuate the premises and call your local power company's emergency line.
  • Repair/Remove: Any defective gas couplings or joints in natural gas pipelines should be repaired or removed. Ignition points can be caused by corroded gas couplings. In the case of San Bruno, a shoddily welded pipeline resulted in the explosion.
  • Repair/Remove II: Any defective appliances like hot water heaters, stoves or furnaces should be repaired or removed and replaced. Along with carbon monoxide poisoning, these appliances can pose a significant danger to people in the vicinity.
  • Be Aware: Gas pipe leaks can be caused by work or repairs on other infrastructure such as water pipes, electrical and telephone lines. This increases the risk of damage, so be on the lookout for any potential leaks.

Quick thinking can save your family and your neighbors from a natural gas explosion, so keep an eye out for danger signs. Your community's counting on you!

Source: 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe

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