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Safety Measures to Ensure Avoidance of Explosion Accidents

About 657 billion cubic meters or 657,000 liters of natural gas is used in all American homes and offices annually. Natural gas is highly combustible, making it extremely hazardous; however, without it, air conditioning systems, furnaces, boilers, clothes dryers, gas stoves, ovens and a lot of other things will not be able to function.

This gas is distributed to U.S. consumers by local gas utilities or local distribution companies (LDC). It passes through pipelines installed by these same distributors (which may either be privately owned or owned and controlled by the local government.

According to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a branch of the Department of Transportation, natural gas distribution pipes extend more than two million miles through cities, connecting distribution sites to consumer sites. To ensure total safety and the avoidance of accidents, such as a leak which can very well lead to an explosion, distribution companies implement safety programs, which include:

  • One Call Systems – refers to the “call-before-you-dig” 811 telephone number that was started in 2008. Contractors, excavators and customers are made aware of this number, which needs to be contacted before any digging (for pipeline installation), is made. This is to make sure that no facility or other pipeline is damaged in the digging process.
  • Emergency Preparedness – distribution companies or local utilities make sure that everyone is prepared for any possible natural disaster, by participating in local emergency preparedness and community programs
  • Technicians on Call – in the event of problems, like leaks, a group of well trained technicians can be relied on 24/7
  • Safety Education Programs – customers are informed through seminars held in community centers, schools and other associations about natural gas safety procedures; they are also told what to measures to take during emergencies
  • Leak Detection Equipment – the most modern leak detection tools and equipment are used by distribution companies to enable them to detect and immediately locate leaks in the distribution network.  Natural gas odorants are also used to make leak detection easier and faster.

Any unmaintained pipe or unchecked leak can result to an explosion, the effects of which can be severe, even deadly. In its website, The Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C., affirms this fact, and even identifies severe burns, spinal cord damage, and head and brain trauma as some of the worst effects an explosion can result to.

Wiring problems, furnaces, boilers, defective appliances, operating an electronic gadget, a lighted candle or a spark from one’s lighter (when lighting a cigarette) is enough to cause leaked gas to explode and engulf everything and everyone in flames. Thus, doing the extra work of checking that natural gas pipes are okay wouldn’t be so hard, especially with the knowledge that this is to ensure our safety, as well as of all others’.

Rick Coleman+