Following Sunday's 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Baja California, Mexico, just south of El Centro, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is reminding customers that advance preparation is critical in getting ready for the next major earthquake.
According to The Gas Company, there were no major service interruptions to customers and its overall natural gas pipeline system was not affected by Sunday's earthquake.
The following safety tips are offered to help reduce the chance of injuries or property damage from the next quake:
Before an earthquake:
Securely strap water heaters to prevent them from moving or toppling over. The water heater should be fastened securely to the wall studs in two places -- the upper and lower one-third of the tank -- with heavy bolts and metal straps.
Replace semi-rigid (aluminum or copper) gas appliance connectors with approved connectors made of corrugated metal. These are less likely to crack during an earthquake. Connectors and water heater strapping kits are available at most hardware and home improvement stores.
Know where the natural gas meter is located. Gas meters are commonly located above ground next to the home on the side, front or back, but may also be in a cabinet or underground. Have a 12-inch or larger adjustable wrench handy to manually turn off the gas meter should it be necessary if a gas leak is suspected after an emergency.
After an earthquake:
Do not turn off the gas meter after an earthquake, unless there is a gas smell or the sound of gas escaping. Once the gas has been turned off, it may take several days for the service to be restored, depending on the magnitude of the emergency. If an appliance appears to have a leak, turning off the valve between the appliance and gas line may stop the leak. If not, shut off the gas at the meter.
If there is an apparent gas leak, remain calm. Do not light a match, candle or cigarette, and do not turn electrical devices -- not even a light switch -- on or off. From a safe location, call 1-800-427-2200 or 1-800-342-4545 in Spanish, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; or call 911.
If a gas leak is suspected and it is safe to do so, turn the gas off at the meter. Using an adjustable wrench, make a quarter-turn of the valve, moving it from a vertical position to a horizontal position. This will shut off the flow of gas. (A diagram and instructions for turning off the gas meter are printed in the "Survival Guide" section of most telephone directory white pages and is also available at www.socalgas.com).
If the gas is shut off at the meter, do not turn it back on without the help of The Gas Company. Gas service should not be restored until it has been determined that the customer's facilities, appliances or other gas equipment are safe.
The City of Aliso Viejo, which incorporated July 1, 2001, encompasses approximately 7 square miles with nearly 48,000 residents. The City's annual budget is roughly $30 million. The City supports a thriving business community with companies such as Pacific Life Insurance Co.; United Parcel Service (UPS); Clarient; Valeant Pharmaceuticals; Q-Logic; Lennar Homes; Buy.Com; Fluor Daniel; Pepsi Bottling, Inc.; Shea Homes; the Renaissance ClubSport Hotel; and Bausch and Lomb. Aliso Viejo has 23 parks, vast open space and top-notch amenities including the Aliso Viejo Ranch and the City's new Conference Center and Aquatic Center. The City of Aliso Viejo welcomes you to "Experience It All." The City is also celebrating 2010 as the Year of the Youth. For more information, visit www.cityofalisoviejo.com.