news columbia gas tips for customers before and after hurricane ian
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Columbia Gas: Tips for customers before and after Hurricane Ian

columbia gas of virginiaColumbia Gas of Virginia is reminding its natural gas customers to be prepared for severe weather resulting from Hurricane Ian, which is expected to impact portions of Virginia into early next week.

“The health and safety of our customers is extremely important to Columbia Gas, which is why we are encouraging them to take action ahead of the heavy rain that is expected to fall in parts of our service area,” said Columbia Gas of Virginia President and COO Brent Archer. “In the event that severe storms, high wind or flooding disrupt natural gas service, Columbia Gas will be ready to meet our customers’ needs and restore their service in a safe and reliable manner.”

Columbia Gas encourages natural gas customers to take the following steps to protect their homes, businesses and family during severe storms resulting from Hurricane Ian.

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.
  • If flood waters rise above your gas meter, call Columbia Gas at (800) 543-8911 to have it inspected for damage.
  • Before removing downed trees, contact Virginia811 by calling 811 or visiting VA811.com to have the location of underground utility lines marked. Downed trees could become tangled with natural gas lines or other utilities.

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.

If you’re inside, get outside to a safe location. If you’re outside, leave the area quickly.

Call 911, then the Columbia Gas emergency number at 1-800-544-5606.

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.

More information about Columbia Gas of Virginia is available at www.ColumbiaGasVA.com 

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.