Natural Gas: How do you shut it off?

I read about the problems with Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath from the 2011 Japanese quake and there was a common theme… fire. I was scratching my head… how does a fire occur when you have pouring down hurricane force wind & rain and tsunami flooded city streets…. natural gas lines.

Growing up in Coos Bay, this is something that you didn’t have to worry about. No one had natural gas and then I moved to Portland…. where everyone does. So the question remains, how do I shut off my gas line after 4 minutes of severe shaking… both the ground and my knees. After ensuring your family is safe, head straight to the natural gas line and shut it off.

I recently had a service call concerning our furnace and I immediately asked for a tutorial about how to shut off the gas

English: Natural gas burning

English: Natural gas burning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

in the event of a large earthquake. He took me to the side of the house and showed me the switch (I advise everyone to ask an HVAC technician and or someone from your local gas company to show you how). There will be no white hat utility people to the rescue with a large earthquake and you will need to take matters into your own hands. Get a vice grip and turn the switch… and ask your neighbors to do the same. Their gas line being shut off after an earthquake is just as important as your own home. You don’t want their house to burn, since it is your neighbor and you care, but because you also don’t want it to ignite your  home.

During my last service call, the tech told me about the emergency shut off valve for gas lines. This will automatically shut off your gas line when the ground begins to shake — which sounds amazing because that will be one less thing on my “to do” list after a large earthquake.

I am not endorsed by this company but I am looking into getting this installed at my home. (Is it rude to ask my neighbor to do the same?)

Gas Shut Off Valves:

http://www.earthquakestore.com/shutoff-valves.html

Emergency Tips from Portland General Electric:

http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/edusafety/naturaldisaster/earthquake/gasshutoff/index.page

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