Discover critical steps involving your gas meter that you should take to minimize damage and ensure your safety when a disaster occurs. Most people say they are going to take the proper steps of disaster preparedness before the next big one hits, but the majority seldom do. Follow these simple steps that I reveal to you and you will be well on your way!
First, and most important, know where your gas meter is located. This may sound silly, but many people do not even know where their meter is! If you live in a warmer climate area, it is usually on the side of your home. Large buildings or apartments sometimes have breeze ways and they can be located there as well. If you live in an apartment building and do not know where your meter is ask your landlord. Cooler climate regions it is not uncommon to find the gas meter down in a basement or cellar.
Once you know where your gas meter is located it is important to have the proper tool to turn your gas off. Gas meters can be turned off with special gas meter tools, a crescent wrench or channel locks. I highly suggest that you attach your gas shut off tool to your meter so you do not have to search for the proper tool in the heat of the moment after an earthquake.
After a natural disaster, you will need to inspect your meter for gas leaks. If it is dark, it is very important to use the proper type of light to get to your meter. Use a flashlight powered by batteries only. Never use a candle, kerosene lantern or anything with a flame near your gas meter. Anything with a flame near a gas leak can cause an explosion. This includes a lit cigarette and even starting a car near a gas leak. Both of these can cause a serious explosion. Until you know if you have a leak do not even turn light switches on or off or even use your landline telephone. These can also create a spark and cause an explosion.
For safety reasons, if you experience a severe disaster it is wise to turn your gas off. Not all earthquakes and tornadoes will require you to turn your main gas supply to your home off though. Some questions to ask yourself are, "Do I smell gas?" "Do I hear gas spraying out?" "Is my gas meter registering increased usage?" If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, then it is essential to turn your gas to the OFF position. I will cover how to do this next. Just remember that only a professional should ever turn your gas back on. In the case of a severe earthquake or natural disaster of any kind this may take a week or two before your gas will be restored.
Turning your gas meter off is really quite simple. Especially if you know where your gas meter is located and you have the proper tool attached right to the meter! Teach everyone in your family how to turn the gas off. If you are injured and cannot do this yourself, you will be glad that someone else in your family has been trained to turn it off too. To turn your gas off you need to turn the gas meter shut off valve 1/4 of a turn in either direction. It does not matter which direction. Remember, only a professional should ever turn your gas to your home back on. Only professionals have the proper equipment to test for gas leaks and will only restore once all gas leaks are repaired.
If you experience an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, etc. and follow these simple, yet critical, gas meter safety tips you will be increasing your chance of survival as well as minimizing the amount of damage that a big disaster can cause. It is essential to become prepared for all types of natural disasters. Natural disaster preparedness can save lives!