Gary Abrams overstates the danger of fire from natural gas pipelines Records show that fires resulting from gas leaks following major California earthquakes are minimal, and most are caused by the movement of unrestrained water heaters.
The Southern California Gas Co. has been actively promoting water heater strapping, which can be done for only a few dollars with standard hardware store material. Instructions on how to strap water heaters will be available at gas company business offices on Aug. 1. Also, all semi-rigid gas connectors, such as those made of copper or aluminum, should be replaced with flexible corrugated connectors.
We do not believe that installation of earthquake shut-off devices enhances the safety of our customers. It could be several days or weeks following a major quake when gas company personnel could restore service to every home that shuts off. A long period without natural gas for heat, for cooking unrefrigerated food, and for sterilizing water could impair the health of infants, the elderly, the infirm and others, particularly during the winter months.
Cohen is Press Relations Supervisor for Southern California Gas Co.