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Columbia Gas urges customers and public to take natural gas safety precautions

As Columbia Gas of Virginia crews prepare to respond to potential impacts such as winds, heavy rains, and potential flooding from Hurricane Florence, the company urges customers and the public to follow important natural gas safety precautions:

Before the Storm:
• Know how to locate your natural gas meter. Following the storm, it will be important to ensure that the meter is visible, and the area surrounding it is free of trash and debris. Mechanical equipment used after the storm to clean up a location may damage the meter if it is hidden.

• Make sure sump pumps are in working order. Functioning sump pumps help reduce the risk of basement flooding and can prevent damage to appliances.

• Natural gas valves should only be operated by knowledgeable or qualified individuals. Do not attempt to turn off gas at your meter.

After the Storm:
• If your appliances were damaged or under water, have them inspected by a qualified contractor before attempting to use them. And if flood waters rise above your gas meter, please call Columbia Gas at 800-543-8911 to have it inspected for damage.

• If your meter is damaged, if a gas line is exposed or if you smell the rotten egg odor associated with natural gas, immediately leave the area, call 911, then call the Columbia Gas 24-hour emergency response line at 800-544-5606. Do not try to identify the source of a leak yourself, and do not operate phones, switches, appliances or anything else that might cause a spark in the presence of gas odor.

• Before removing downed trees, contact the Virginia Utility Protection Service by calling 811 or visiting to have the location of underground utility lines marked. Downed trees could become tangled with the natural gas lines or other utilities.

About Natural Gas Generators
Natural gas generators can provide continuous electric supply from an existing natural gas line. Since these units are available in a range of sizes,  Columbia Gas asks that you contact the gas service prior to installation to determine if your current natural gas service is adequate for safe and efficient operation.

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