BEND, OR -- Bend Fire is asking property owners to make sure natural gas meters and pipes are safe from falling snow and ice, especially during roof clean-up operations. Battalion Chief Dave Howe says his agency has seen numerous problems caused by snow falling from roofs onto meters, and the "lateral sheer force" of snow piling up around meters and appliances. Plows can also push snow into meters, breaking lines and causing leaks.
Howe suggests you know where your gas meter is located and protect it with a sheet of plywood set at an angle (pictured). He also says it's important to keep meters and exposed lines clear, so accumulating snow doesn't put stress on equipment, and remove snow with a broom not a shovel.
If you notice a strong smell of gas or see gas blowing from a pipe or appliance, call 911 and leave the area without using electrical switches or creating any sparks. If you smell a light gas odor, Howe says you should call your local gas company and don't hesitate to call 911 if your level of concern rises.