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Earthquakes and Gas Leaks

I am determined to buck the trends when it comes to blogging--that shouldn't be too hard with a site that focuses on false alarms and features photos of a ferret.  I just don't think that there are many blogs out there that focus on either of these things--and certainly not any that combine the two. Also, I figure that there are enough posts about current popular topics without me adding my two cents.  Hurricane Irene and the earthquake are recent examples.  However, I can provide a public service announcement for those living in the earthquake affected areas.  We have lived in Japan and California, so have experienced earthquakes several times.  I knew that I should inspect my home for damage, but to be honest, I didn't really feel much any concern that there might be damage.  That is until last Monday when my husband called to tell me that a neighbor texted him that he had smelled gas near our house when he walked his dog.  Needless to say, my schedule for the day changed drastically starting with an emergency call to the gas company.  Several hours later, the leak (actually, several leaks) was confirmed outside when the technician hadn't even left his truck before the equipment began to "alarm".  And this certainly was not a false alarms as he found several leaks in the connections at the gas meter. He speculated that the earthquake may have "jiggled" (that's a technical term) enough to loosen the connections.
The smell is is often the first clue to a gas leak.  However, I didn't smell anything because I have had a summer cold/sinus issues for two weeks.  (If you smell gas inside your home, you should leave immediately.  The gas company site says not to even do as little as flicking a light switch as that could cause a spark and create a bigger problem--namely an explosion).  Fortunately for us, our leak seemed to be restricted to outside our home.  I shudder to think what might have happened if the leak had been inside since we have a tankless water heater that uses gas and flame to heat our water. However, identifying the problem turned out to be the easy part.  Getting it fixed took 3 visits by a plumber spread over a week.  Let me tell you right now that a cold shower at 5 am is not a good start to a day.
So my public safety message is to get out and inspect your home if you were in the areas affected by the earthquake.  You never know what all that moving and shaking may have jostled.


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