Safety/Public Awareness

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Safety

Safety is our number one concern. We care about your safety, the safety of your family, friends and co-workers. In order to provide the safest level of service possible, however, we need your assistance. Please review the following information to find out how you can help us avoid emergency situations, as well as the safest way to deal with an emergency should the need arise.

Recognizing a hazardous condition

Gas leaks have several distinct identifying factors that can help you recognize a problem.

  • WATCH for abnormally dry or hardened soil, dead or discolored vegetation in a normally green area, or continuous bubbling in a wet or flooded area.
  • LISTEN for hissing, blowing or roaring sounds.
  • PAY ATTENTION to odors that seem out of place particularly a “rotten egg” smell.

In an emergency

If you believe that a pipeline emergency is in progress, remember that being safe is critical. The following guidelines will help you know what to do in case of an emergency.

  • LEAVE THE AREA immediately, and keep others from entering.
  • NOTIFY WEST TEXAS GAS IMMEDIATELY. In a safe area, contact your nearest West Texas Gas customer service office. If the appropriate West Texas Gas office cannot be identified, call 911.
  • DO NOT create any sparks or flames. Some examples include: using matches or lighters, turning light switches on or off, using a telephone in the immediate vicinity, or starting vehicles or any type of electronic equipment.
  • DO NOT attempt to stop the leak or fix the break or attempt to operate pipeline valves.
  • DO NOT touch, inhale or come into any form of contact with the leaking gasses or liquids

Additionally, it is always a good idea to be aware of pipeline markers in the area. While these markers should not be considered to be the exact location of the pipeline, they are a good indicator that an underground pipeline is present in the general vicinity. They also list important phone numbers to call in case of an emergency. In the event that a pipeline is damaged to any extent, even when there is no detectable gas leakage, please contact WTG immediately. Small scrapes or dents can eventually lead to future leaks, and should be inspected as soon as possible to determine what repairs, if any, are required. In an emergency situation where a pipeline marker is not immediately available, call 811 and they will have all operators within the area respond immediately. Pipeline safety is everyone’s responsibility. By doing your part, you can help us reduce the risk of injury and property damage to everyone living and working in the vicinity of our pipelines.

Avoiding pipeline damage

Although some incidents are the result of natural causes (tree roots, burrowing animals, etc.), the number one cause of pipeline damage is human in origin. Any type of digging or excavation involves potential hazards, particularly with regard to buried pipelines.

Who to call

Knowing who to call can make all the difference between a successful excavation and a disaster. Even if you’re sure it’s safe, please take the time to call and let us know that you or someone else is working near a natural gas pipeline. Remember, safety come first. You should be aware that for the areas served by West Texas Gas, state laws require that excavators call the appropriate one-call center 48 hours in advance of most excavation activities. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in financial loss due to damages, but more importantly, it could lead to serious injury for you and those around you.

With the advent of the nation-wide one-call number, it is now easier than ever to follow the appropriate calling procedures. Simply dial 811, and you will be routed to the correct one-call center for the area from which you are calling. Pipeline operators will then be notified of your request for underground line marking, and the request will be scheduled for completion within the next 48 hours. To further assist you, West Texas Gas places markers to identify the general location of buried pipelines. These markers provide important information on who to contact before digging, as well as who you should contact in the event of emergency. The fact that there is no marker sign does not necessarily mean that a pipeline is not present. This is why it is very important that you call before you begin to excavate.

Regular line maintenance and inspection

You should be aware that WTG does not maintain the natural gas line between the meter and your house or well. Because of this, it is your responsibility to periodically have the line inspected for leaks or corrosion by a qualified professional. It is also important to have the inspector check for hazardous conditions within your home, such as improperly vented water heaters. A good rule of thumb is to have these inspections performed annually. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in higher than necessary gas bills, but more importantly, it can expose you and your family to unnecessary danger.

Pipeline/Meter tampering

While rare, WTG has discovered instances in the past where pipelines and/or meters have been tampered with in an attempt to illegally obtain natural gas. In addition to being against the law, this also represents a danger, not only to the person responsible for the theft, but to everyone in the immediate vicinity. Natural gas transportation is a very dangerous process in untrained hands, and the type of modifications that we find in cases of tampering are well below minimum safety standards. Because of this, WTG has adopted a zero tolerance policy for any type of tampering with natural gas service. If you are aware of, or even suspect that someone in your area has tampered with his or her meter/pipeline, please contact your local WTG office immediately. Failure to do so could result in an accident that could have been prevented if given proper warning.

Additional resources:

Thank you for taking the time to review this information. West Texas Gas remains committed to providing the safest and most reliable natural gas service possible, and we look forward to continuing to work with you in this regard. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your nearest West Texas Gas office.