- If you see a downed power line, contact us immediately. Don’t touch the line or anything that is in contact with the line. Don’t attempt to move the line. Keep others away.
- Never attempt to move an object (tree limb, kite, model airplane, etc.) from a power line by yourself. Never climb the pole. Contact us.
- When house painting, ensure that nothing, including you, your ladder, your paintbrush or roller, comes in contact with the power line supplying electricity to your home.
- When using an aluminum ladder, check above you for power lines. Aluminum is an exceptionally good conductor of electricity. If you touch a power line with an aluminum ladder, you could be seriously injured or killed.
- When working on a roof, which may put you close to an overhead power line, avoid standing up and accidentally touching a line with your head or shoulder.
- When moving antennas, metal gutters or other long metal objects, ensure that they don’t inadvertently touch a power line.
- When pruning trees with a long-handled pruning instrument, especially a metal one, check above you to avoid touching a power line or any limbs that are growing into power lines.
- If you are planning to cut limbs or trees that are near overhead power lines, call 572-0000. If there is a danger that the tree could fall on power lines, we will take down the line until you are finished and replace the line free of charge. Please call us several days in advance to perform this service. If you don’t call us, you could be liable for any damage to power lines caused by falling trees or limbs.
- Keep away from transformers. They are generally green and mounted on concrete slabs, and are found where there are underground power lines.
- Never attempt to open the door of one of these transformers. If you find a door unlocked, call the WGE immediately.
- Because water makes it easier for you to become an electrical path to the ground, be careful when using electricity around water.
- Don’t use power tools while the ground is wet or while standing in water.
- Don’t touch an electrical appliance while in a pool or hot tub.
- Don’t touch any electrical appliances while in the bathtub or shower.
- Make sure outdoor electrical outlets are weatherproofed and protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This device is designed to protect you from electrical shock.
- Don’t touch a victim who’s in contact with a power line.
- Don’t touch anything that’s in contact with the victim.
- Don’t attempt to move the power line.
- Call 911.
- If a victim, who is not in contact with the power line, is not breathing or has no pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately, ONLY if you are trained.
- If you suspect a gas leak in your home or building:
- For your safety, we recommend that you and anyone else in the home or building leave the premises immediately.
- From a neighbor's home or other safe location, call us at 572-0000.
- Do not start any vehicle if it is in an attached garage.
- Do not operate an automatic garage door.
- Do not use matches, open flames, lighters or cigarettes in the home or building.
- Do not turn on or off electrical switches or appliances.
- Do not use phones (including cellular phones) inside the home or building.
- Do not re-enter the home or building until cleared to do so by a WG&E representative.
- Watch for the WG&E truck to arrive and meet the representative at or near their vehicle.
Flexible gas connectors are corrugated metal tubes used to attach gas appliances to a home or building's natural gas supply pipes. Some older, uncoated brass flexible gas connectors can corrode or break and cause a serious gas leak, fire, or explosion.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, these uncoated brass flexible gas connectors have not been made for more than 25 years, but many are still in use. If you have a natural gas appliance that is more than 20 years old, it is a good idea to have the gas connectors replaced.
WARNING: Moving an appliance to check the gas connector may cause the connector to break, resulting in a gas leak, fire or explosion. DO NOT attempt to check the connectors yourself. Instead, have a qualified person, such as a professional plumber, HVAC or appliance repair contractor, or WG&E, inspect your appliances and, if necessary, replace the connectors for you. The new connector should be certified by the American Gas Association and be manufactured in conformance with the American National Standards Institute. WG&E also reminds you that you should have all of your gas appliances inspected in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
WG&E began operations as a municipal department in 1899. Natural gas was first available to light the streets, homes and businesses in what is now the downtown area. Although electricity now powers most of our lights, the old gas company has grown into a modern natural gas distribution system that provides about one-third of all the energy used by residential, commercial, and industrial applications in Westfield.
Like any other source of energy, gas can be hazardous and must be used and treated with respect.
Do you have buried natural gas lines for a pool, workshop or other use on your property? You should know about a federal law covering the maintenance of customer-owned gas piping.
In most cases, gas companies maintain buried gas piping up to the outlet of the gas meter on your property. All gas piping beyond this point is the responsibility of the property owner.
Some examples of buried gas piping that are not maintained by WG&E are
- Buried piping past the outlet of a meter supplying mobile homes
- Buried piping past the outlet of a meter supplying secondary buildings, such as a detached garage and workshops
- Buried piping past the outlet of a meter supplying additional equipment, such as pool heaters, gas grills and yard lamps
The federal law administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (Title 49 CFR 192.16) states
- Buried piping that is not maintained may be subject to the potential hazards of corrosion and leakage.
- Buried piping should be
Periodically inspected for leaks
Periodically inspected for corrosion if the piping is metallic
Repaired or removed from service if any unsafe condition is discovered.
Before excavating near buried piping, the piping should be located and excavating done carefully by hand. Underground locating contractors may assist with locating buried piping. A plumbing or heating contractor may be able to provide assistance with inspection and repair of buried piping.
If you have questions or need more information, call our 24-hour Dispatch Center at 572-0000.
Natural Gas Odor
One simple safety procedure that is used to help avoid problems is the odorization of gas. Natural gas, which is mostly methane, is odorless. The distinctive scent of the gas we deliver comes from the addition of odorants specially designed for this purpose.
Odorants allow anyone with a normal sense of smell to readily detect a minor gas leak. The addition of odorants only works, however, if someone calls to let us know when a leak is detected. Scratch-and-sniff odor samples are periodically included with customer bills.
Gas Scratch & Sniff Card
Natural gas is a safe and reliable fuel when used properly. But escaping gas can signal potential danger. Natural gas is colorless and odorless, and it can penetrate walls even if your home or building is not supplied with gas.
As a safety precaution, WG&E adds a distinctive sulfur-like odor to natural gas so you can smell a leak immediately. For your safety, it is important that everyone in your family recognizes this odor. Request a Scratch-n-Sniff card containing this odor.
In a gas emergency, call us at 572-0000.
Know Your Valves
In case of an emergency, customers should know the location of all shut-off valves in their building. All appliances should have a shut-off from the gas supply. Find the shut-off valve or have someone show you where the shut-offs are located in your building. Most of these require only a quarter turn to operate them from the full “on” to the “off” position. Each gas meter has a shut-off too, which can be locked in the off position. If needed, contact us at 572-0000 for assistance.
In the event of a major storm, power can be interrupted for several days. Preparing a "storm kit" ahead of time ensures you and your family will have what you need if you lose power. Recommended Items to have in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit include:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (canned, dehydrated, or freeze-dried)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Moist towelettes
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Pet food and water
Stay away from downed power lines and call WGE at 413-572-0000 immediately to report them.
- Keep area around pad-mounted transformers and switches clear of ice and snow so that WGE restoration crews can locate the equipment and gain access. Pad-mounted transformers and switches are square green boxes (measuring approximately 3x3x3) which are usually located on front or side lawns in residential areas or larger green boxes adjacent to parking areas and buildings in commercial settings.
- Keep the meter area and a path to the meter clear of snow and debris.
- Keep gas meters and attached equipment clear of snow to avoid malfunction. Use a broom, not a shovel when clearing snow from around gas meters. If there is ice on the meter, call WGE at 413-572-0000 to report it.
- Keep ice and snow away from heat pump coils to avoid malfunction.
- Keep outside pipes which provide ventilation for direct-vent furnaces and water heaters clear of ice and snow.
- Keep outside dryer vents clear of snow and ice build-up.
- Mark areas such as in-ground swimming pools so that WGE personnel who may have to walk through backyards to access equipment can avoid walking on snow covered pool covers which may become unstable and collapse.
- When using snow rakes to remove snow from your roof, stay clear of the power lines that may attach to the side of your house. Remember that heavy snow from clearing roofs can fall on both gas and electric meters and damage them, causing a hazardous condition.
- If you smell, hear, or see a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same. Do not drive into or near a gas leak or vapor cloud, and do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones), or anything that could cause a spark.
- Be sure your genertator hook-ups are installed and inspected by a professional electrician to ensure your safety and the safety of utility workers.
- Always run generators outside and downwind of structures. NEVER run a generator indoors as carbon monoxide gas from the generator's exhaust can spread throughout enclosed spaces.
- Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator (a small, home-use generator produces 350-12,000 watts of power). Overloading your generator can damage it and/or start a fire.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
- Install UL approved carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near sleeping areas in your home and check batteries regularly.
- Never use an oven to heat your home. This can be a fire hazard as well as a cause of toxic fumes.
- Never use a gas or charcoal grill inside your home or in a closed garage.
- Don't allow vehicle exhaust fumes to enter your home.
Power Outage Precautions
- Put together an emergency kit which would include a flashlight, batteries, canned/packaged food, can opener, tool kit, bottled water, blankets, a battery-operated radio, and a first aid kit.
- Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid a possible fire hazard.
- Run water at a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting if outside temperatures are below freezing and you have no heat.
- Store perishable food outside in the snow or in a cooler.
- Turn off sensitive appliances like televisions, computers, and refrigerators. They can be damaged by power irregularities when the power comes back on.
- Have one corded phone in your house, which may operate even if you lose power.
Portable Heater Safety
- Keep portable space heaters at least three feet away from any combustible materials such as furniture, curtains, bedding, rugs and clothing.
- Plug portable space heaters directly into an outlet. Never use extension cords with space heaters as it is a common cause of fires.
- Purchase only heaters with the UL safety listing and that have a tip-over shut-off feature.
- Always turn off your space heater before going to sleep, and unplug it when not in use.
- Be sure to keep it clear of the build up of dust and lint, which could start a fire.
Extreme heat and humidity can pose life-threatening situations. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some important safety tips that will keep you and your family safe when temperatures reach dangerous levels. Visit the summer safety page of their website by clicking here.
Follow these steps to stay safe during the heat:
- Never leave children or pets unattended in an enclosed vehicle.
- Avoid extreme changes in temperature.
- Wear clothing that is lightweight, loose-fiiting, and light-colored.
- Avoid strenuous exercise in excessive heat.
- Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day.
- Use a buddy system when working outside, and take frequent breaks.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who are most likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on pets frequently to make sure they have plenty of water and shade, and are not suffering from the heat.
- Eat smaller meals and eat more often.
Signs of heat exhaustion:
- Cool, pale, moist, or flushed skin
- Heavy sweating
If someone is experiencing the above-symptons:
- Move them to a cooler location;
- Remove or loosen tight clothing;
- Apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin;
- Fan the person;
- If they are conscious, give them small amounts of cool water to drink, and make sure they drink slowly;
- Watch for changes in condition;
- If the person refuses to drink water, vomits, or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 right away.
Signs of Heat Stroke:
- Hot, red skin which may be dry or moist
- Changes in consciousness
- High body temperature
If someone is experiencing signs of a heat stroke:
- Call 9-1-1 immediately;
- Move them to a cooler location;
- Quickly cool their body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water, if possible, or;
- Douse or spray with cold water, cold compresses, or bags of ice.
To help avoid problems, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and limit drinks with caffeine or alcohol.