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Views on Quake Valve

July 08, 1990

Gary Abram's article "Gas Shut-Off Valve Reduces Fire Risk After Major Quake" (June 24) may have misled some readers with his statement: "Some communities require building permits for installation. . . ."

Based on my five years of experience in the industry, no California jurisdiction requires a building permit for installing a seismic valve. Most jurisdictions do, however, require a plumbing permit. A handful also require a plan check to assure that the pressure drop at peak demand across a gas system to be protected will not exceed the limit allowed by the applicable plumbing code.

I believe that seismic valves should be required throughout the United States in high-risk seismic areas (defined in the Uniform Building Code as Seismic Zones 3 and 4) on newly constructed, gas-serviced buildings that house essential functions. My proposal to include this requirement in the Uniform Plumbing Code will be considered for adoption on Sept. 25 in Boise, Idaho, at the 1990 Conference of the International Assn. of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).

Opposition of past efforts has come from privately owned gas utilities, but society needs to better protect its new fire and police stations, surgical hospitals, governmental emergency operations centers, and utilities from gas catastrophes when they are needed the most--after an earthquake.

CARL L. STRAND

Los Angeles

Strand is president of Earthquake Consultants.

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