This is the time of year when we often use the changes of the seasons to check our smoke detector batteries, furnaces and other building mechanics for proper operation. We ran across a timely reminder from Columbia Gas the other day. You can find a lot of information about natural gas safety Here . It reminded me of an incident last year when we had a repair crew show up to our office one day here in Port Clinton. Here is what happened.
We had several people indicate that they smelled gas in the alley beside our office over a period of weeks. I would go out to see for myself and not smell a thing. Finally a woman smelled the gas and called Columbia Gas on her own. They came out with a crew and stayed on the job for about 48 hours until they located and fixed the leak. As it turned out, gas had been leaking into the crevices of some back filled stone under our office floor. If it had ever ignited, I was told the building and probably several others probably would have been destroyed. We were lucky.
When the techs showed up, they asked who called them. I indicated a woman passing through the area called. They were not surprised at that and took that as confirmation there was a leak. It was later they told me they put a lot of credence on calls from women because they can smell the gas better and more consistently than men. Who knew? Natural gas has no odor, so the gas companies put mercaptan in the gas to give it that rotten egg smell.
In addition you can sometimes see gas bubbling in water for moving dirt and dust around as it escapes from the ground. Gas will also kill vegetation – so watch for that over a gas line. Listen for it too – it can make a whistling sound. The Gas companies recommend you leave the area and call them. And don’t use anything that can spark – including cell phones, flashlights and power tools.
On the bright side, it brought us an opportunity to review our plan for what we would do in the event something catastrophic would happen to us. Do you have a plan? How would you set up temporary quarters for your business? Telephone lines, internet access, fixtures, customer access, inventory replacement, etc. Do you rebuild or relocate? How are your valued employees to be paid while you are out "out of business"? Where does the money come from for all this lost business income and extra expense?
Business insurance policies cover accidental explosion from gas lines - but only as far at you have insured your business contents and building coverage. To insure all these extra costs you need to ask the Frederick Agency about Business Interruption insurance. Contact us at 419-732-3171.
But we think it is also important to be aware of your surroundings to avoid these situations if possible. At the Frederick Agency, we call that Risk Management! We also believe you should consider appropriate Business Insurance - that is also good Risk Management!