BOOM! Things that make you go National Grid’s response to gas leaks and carbon monoxide discovered in the home
Upstate New York Gas Network 595,461 customers • 544,816 residential customers • 50,645 commercial & industrial customers 15,661 total distribution pipe (distribution main + service pipe) • 8,489 miles of distribution main • 7,172 miles of service pipe • 278 miles of transmission main
Natural Gas Safety • National Grid gas service crews are trained to be familiar with the characteristics of natural gas and be prepared to react quickly and properly to ensure their safety and the safety of the customer and members of the nearby community. • They continually test, repair and improve the underground system that delivers natural gas to National Grid customers. Despite their best efforts, however, the possibility does exist for a gas leak in or near a customer’s home. • A gas leak can occur when the ground heaves as water in it freezes and thaws. Gas could also escape from faulty or improperly operated home appliances.
Recognizing a Gas Leak • SMELL - Natural gas is colorless and odorless. A distinctive, pungent odor, similar to rotten eggs, is added so that you'll recognize it quickly. Not all transmission lines are odorized. • SIGHT - You may see a white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water or blowing dust. You may also see vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason. • SOUND - You may hear an unusual noise like roaring, hissing or whistling.
Detecting a Gas Leak • Energy auditors who are conducting BPI comprehensive home assessments in the homes of National Grid gas customers’ homes must report natural gas leaks to National Grid. • If there is a fuel leak such as propane or heating oil, direct the customer to call their supplier. • When conducting audits and a gas leak is detected, either through odor or using the electronic gas leak detector meter, the auditor must determine immediately if the natural gas/propane gas odor is “strong”, “weak” or if there is blowing gas. • The Bacharach Leakator Model #10 can detect natural gas (methane) in concentrations down to 20 ppm.
“Making Safe” Actions • Evacuate the building occupants to a safe environment. • Ventilate the building. • Turn off all fuel burning appliances, • Turn off electrical appliances, lights or flashlights. • Do not strike matches or smoke in areas where gas may be present. • Do not use telephones or cell phones. These items may produce a spark that might ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
Calling in the Gas Leak • After “Make Safe Actions” have been implemented, the energy auditor must call the appropriate National Grid gas emergency telephone number: • New York City: 1 – 718 – 643 – 4050 • Long Island: 1 – 800 – 490 – 0045 • Upstate New York: 1 – 800 – 892 – 2345 • The energy auditor informs National Grid Call Center Representative that a natural gas leak has been detected in the customer’s home and requests a “Gas Leak Investigation” for the customer’s home. The energy auditor must provide the exact location, including cross streets and inform the customer that National Grid will respond within 60 minutes.
Calling in the Gas Leak -Call Center Response National Grid Call Center Representatives are trained to respond to calls on the Gas Emergency Line in the following fashion: Greeting • Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening… National Grid’s Gas Emergency Line… • Provide Your Name… • What is your emergency? If it is not a gas-related emergency, National Grid Call Center Representatives will advise the customer to call back using the appropriate number (1-800-642-4272 or 1-800-443-1837).
Calling in the Gas Leak - Call Center Response Verification • Obtain the caller’s name • Verify full premise address, including house number, street name, suffix, city AND telephone number • Enter the information into the customer record online, including the nature of the gas leak (Type/Condition, Location, Appliance, Pilot, Odor Duration, Odor, Etc.) • Update driving directions and enter additional comments, if necessary verify • Update Requested By Name and Phone Number • Advise of access requirement and forced entry policy as appropriate • NEVER let a customer talk you out of issuing the order. Once we know, we have to go! • Ask customer’s permission to place on hold while confirming receipt of order with dispatch
Calling in the Gas Leak - Call Center Response Safety • Thank the customer for holding while you contacted dispatch. • Advise the caller to vacate the premises if it is indicated: • There is a strong odor • There is a hissing noise • There is a broken gas pipe • There is an explosion
Calling in the Gas Leak -Call Center Response On all Gas Emergency orders (Strong or Minor), the caller must be advised to take the following precautionary Safety Measures: Inside: • Avoid turning on lights or using any electrical appliances including the phone • Do not use any open flames • Do not adjust the thermostat • Leave windows and doors as they were Outside: • Advise of all safety information above and the following: • Do not start any motor vehicles • Do not use any outdoor device (lawnmower, leaf blower, trimmer, snow-blower, Etc.) • Do not use or start an open flame
Calling in the Gas Leak -Call Center Response Customer Expectations • Inform the caller that the Service Department will arrive within an hour to make the situation safe Summary/Closure • Confirm the type of order that has been issued for today • Restate the full premise address including house number, street name, suffix, and city • Remind the customer that National Grid will be there within the hour and that someone has to be there • Thank the customer for calling National Grid
Responding to the Gas Leak -Inside Gas Leak Investigation Policy • The First Responder (FR) shall attempt to gain access to building for leak investigative purposes. CAUTION: The FR shall exercise caution to avoid striking a main or service while investigating a leak. Approximate the location of the main or service by looking for valve boxes, service risers, meters markouts or other markings. Probe approximately 18” on either side (perpendicular distance) from the expected location. • If FR can not gain access to a building for leak investigation, notify Dispatch and Scheduling, request assistance if needed, and continue to attempt access. Take readings at doors, windows, and other available openings (etc.) and take barhole readings along a street facing wall within 5' of the wall every 15 feet with a minimum of three. In some cases a main or service may be located at a side or back facing wall. In this case additional barholing may be necessary. NOTE: When positive readings are obtained at the foundation wall or at any available openings to the inside of the building, forced entry may be required. The Police and/or Fire Departments should be requested to assist in the forced entry, unless the situation dictates that immediate action should be taken by the Company Representative. Notify Dispatch and Scheduling of situation and indicate if contact with 911 is necessary.
Responding to the Gas Leak -Inside Gas Leak Investigation Policy • The FR shall check for presence of gas by taking readings at all street facing walls and at all points of entry for pipe, conduit and other potential paths of migration. 1) Pipe includes but is not limited to gas service and water service wall penetrations as well as buried customer owned piping wall penetrations. 2) Conduit (ducts, etc.) includes but is not limited to telephone, cable and electric ducts; sewer traps. 3) Other includes but is not limited to partitions, exposed appurtenances, cracks in wall, sill plates and floor drains. 4) All checks shall be made with a CGI. 5) If readings are found an outside leak investigation shall be performed.
Responding to the Gas Leak -Inside Gas Leak Investigation Policy • The FR shall check accessible customer owned piping for leaks and make safe or shut off gas to the impacted piping (Warning tags should be used as applicable). • The FR shall check all appliances in the vicinity of the leak/odor complaint. Document all results (Warning tags should be used as applicable.) • Where necessary perform a meter dials check for gas usage. • Where necessary, a customer owned pipe integrity test shall be performed. • Perform operating test on all natural gas appliances. • When positive gas readings are found in the above referenced locations (see Section 4.2.c) additional inside leak investigations are required in adjacent buildings (1 right and left of leak address and barhole across the street). In addition, when positive gas readings are found in the above referenced duct locations (see Section 4.2.c.2) additional inside leak investigations are required in the 3 buildings directly opposite the leak address.
Responding to the Gas Leak -Inside Gas Leak Investigation Policy • When a customer claims an inside leak and no positive readings are found inside or one or more required points of entry are inaccessible, a barhole reading shall be taken within 5 feet of the front wall in the vicinity of the service. If the reading is clear the leak is completed. • If gas readings are detected inside the building and an inside source is identified, make safe or make temporary or permanent repairs where practical. Follow leak and repair order procedures. • If gas readings are detected inside the building and an outside source is identified, make safe, if practical. • Sources of ignition within a building (see 4.1.s)
Responding to the Gas Leak -Inside Gas Leak Investigation Policy • When a concentration of gas is detected inside a building with a sustained atmospheric gas reading of 1% gas-in-air or greater that cannot be immediately identified and made safe at the source an evacuation of the building or the affected area shall be made. 1) If evacuation is activated, people shall be evacuated and restricted from buildings when the concentration of gas inside, outside in the ground, or in the air indicates ignition of the escaping gas is a possibility. 2) People within the building should be warned against operating electric switches and devices or smoking during the evacuation. 3) The location shall be considered a hazardous area. 4) The evacuation of other buildings in close proximity to a hazardous area shall be evaluated. 5) After escaping gas has been brought under control and before removing any area restrictions or allowing people to return to an evacuated building(s), the restricted area shall be re-checked with a CGI to ensure that there is no hazard to people or property.
WARNING TAG PROCEDURE - GAS DEFINITIONS OF CLASS A, B, AND C CONDITIONS 1. Class A conditions include, but are not limited to the following: a. Any leaking gas piping that cannot be stopped by temporary or permanent repairs. b. Any space or water-heating appliance that is not properly venting and is discharging carbon monoxide. c. Any defective, obstructed, or inoperable venting system used to convey flue gases. d. Heat exchangers, which are corroded or cracked beyond repair or blocked and which cause products of combustion to enter the warm air distribution system. e. Ambient air CO readings from an unvented appliance in excess of 15 ppm. f. Ambient air CO readings from a vented appliance in excess of 0 ppm.
WARNING TAG PROCEDURE - GAS 2. Class B conditions include, but are not limited to the following: a.Any Gas leak on an appliance that cannot be stopped by temporary or permanent repair means. b. Any gas appliance with a missing or inoperative safety device. c. Defective or improper wiring which may cause an unsafe condition on a gas appliance. d. Any space heater or water heater with an inoperative thermostat. e. Open flame burners too close to combustibles. f. Any unit other than a space or water heating appliance that has visual indications of improper combustion. g. Movable damper in flue (excluding barometric dampers). h. Missing or improperly installed draft hood (excluding Power Burners). i. Any flue connected heat savings device that is not A.G.A. certified.
WARNING TAG PROCEDURE - GAS 2. Class B conditions (CONTINUED) j. Appliances connected in closed small room such as a bathroom. k. Any residential space heater that does not conform to New York State Law requiring vent draft hood and safety pilot. l. Any gas appliance attached to a chimney flue serving a separate appliance designed to burn solid fuel. m. Any gas hose that exceeds six (6) feet in length or in poor condition, excluding laboratories. n. Any customer pound to inches regulator not vented to atmosphere with insect proof terminus. o. Any clothes dryer vent connected to a chimney.
WARNING TAG PROCEDURE - GAS 3. Class C conditions include, but are not limited to the following: a. Any gas pipe or appliance that was previously leaking and has temporary repairs. b. Situations where the clearance between combustibles and appliances or vent connectors is less than required but no immediate fire hazard exists. c. Draft hood in different room than appliance. d. Range oven vent plugged or oven safety pilot or thermostat inoperative. e. Appliance regulator vent not within 1” of standing pilot on vent orifices. f. Unprotected or concealed semi-rigid tubing. g. Piping laid in concrete without sleeves. h. Plastic pipe installed indoors.
WARNING TAG PROCEDURE - GAS 3. Class C conditions (CONTINUED) i. Flexible appliance connector that does not terminate in the same room as the appliance. j. Any properly vented appliance developing excessive carbon monoxide. i. For vented room heaters, excessive carbon monoxide shall be defined as 0.02% CO (200ppm) in an air-free sample of the flue gases when tested in an area having a normal oxygen supply. ii. For all other vented appliances, it shall be defined as 0.04% CO (400 ppm) in an air-free sample of the flue gases when tested in an area having a normal oxygen supply. k. Any other existing hazardous condition not covered above.
Amanda’s Law was named in honor of Buffalo, NY resident Amanda Hansen, a teenage girl who lost her life to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from a defective boiler when sleeping over at a friend’s house in January 2009. Effective February 22, 2010, a new law went into effect in New York to help protect families from the #1 cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the US, carbon monoxide (CO). The new law requires the following: CO Alarms must be installed in ALL NEW AND EXISTING one and two-family dwellings, multifamily dwellings and rentals having any fuel-burning appliance, system or attached garage. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends CO Alarms be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. To comply with the law, CO alarms must be listed to comply with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) 2034 or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) 6.19 and installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. CO Alarms should be replaced every five (5) years in order to benefit from the latest technology and upgrades. Also the Carbon Monoxide sensors inside the alarm unit can wear out over time. How many CO Alarms should I have in my home to best protect my family? # of Levels X # of bedrooms = (# of Alarms you should have) Amanda's Law
Facts about Carbon Monoxide • Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) • Each year, approximately 200 people in New York State are hospitalized because of accidental CO poisoning. Many more people are treated for CO exposure in emergency rooms without further hospital care. (NYS Health Department) • Nationally, accidental CO poisoning kills 400 people and injures another 20,000 each year. (CDC) • Carbon monoxide is a silent killer – you cannot see it, smell it or taste it. The ONLY safe way to detect it is with a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms range in price from $20 to $50 depending on additional features. • CO is a produced anytime a fuel is burned. Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators, and car exhaust fumes. • Most CO incidents happen during the winter months, mainly due to an increased use in fuel burning appliances. Nearly all (90.5%) of New York housing uses some form of fossil-fuel burning heat source (gas, fuel oil, or kerosene), which can generate carbon monoxide. (U.S. Census) • At high concentration levels, carbon monoxide can be fatal in minutes. CO rapidly accumulates in the blood and is attracted to the hemoglobin in your bloodstream. When breathed in, CO passes through the lungs and bonds with hemoglobin, displacing the oxygen that cells need to function. • A January 2006 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that for individuals who had been involved in a CO poisoning and survived, there was a three-fold increase in coronary artery disease seven years later compared to non-poisoned patients.
Carbon Monoxide • RESPONSE PROTOCOL 1. Execute all carbon monoxide concerns/detector calls (originating from National Grid natural gas a. Health-related symptoms as an emergency investigation order, b. Non-health related symptoms as a same day investigation order. 2. Direct any customer with a carbon monoxide investigation and/or detector call that does not utilize our gas to call their fuel supplier, fire department or 911.. • INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE 1. Communicate with persons at the premise as to any health related symptoms. Advise residents experiencing any health related symptoms (i.e., headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath), to seek medical attention. 2. Use a calibrated, approved instrument to sample outside air to ensure no background readings are contributing to inside sample readings. (Beware of other possible sources of CO, such as traffic and industrial exhaust). 3. Take a CO reading in the doorway, before entering the home. If readings exceed of 200 ppm, ventilate and evacuate within 15 minutes.
Carbon Monoxide • INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE (continued) 4.Measure and record indoor CO levels throughout the home. Take measurements in the ambient air in the center of each room. 5. Identify potential sources of CO. These sources include motor vehicles, lawnmowers, gasoline powered appliances, cigarette smoke, power generators, furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, propane refrigerators, ranges, ovens, space heaters, fireplaces, gas logs, wood stoves, charcoal grills, and any other fuel-burning appliances. 6. Note the potential sources of elevated CO in the home, their location in the home and if they are vented or unvented to the outside of the home. If there is an attached garage, determine if there were anyvehicles in the garage in the last 12 hours, and if any of the vehicles were on or operating in the last 12hours. 7. Ventilate the building or home until CO readings dissipate. Close all windows and doors. Turn on all
Carbon Monoxide • INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE (continued) 8. If exhaust fans are present in the dwelling, turn on to investigate the possibility of a negative pressure situation. Measure and record CO levels throughout the home. 9. Ventilate premise if CO levels exist and you have identified and isolated the source of CO. 10. Conduct a visual inspection of any accessible interior service regulator vent piping when working near the regulator. 11. For orders with positive indications of CO, record all findings and results on the Carbon Monoxide Incident GDC in MWork (see Exhibit C for screenshot). Include information for each step in the procedure used to detect and correct the cause of the carbon monoxide. Only carbon monoxide incidents resulting in medical attention, injury, hospitalization, or fatality require a written report.
Carbon MonoxideEXHIBIT A - Vented Appliance Guide • Check venting system for proper installation, good draft, and physical condition. Check for proper flue pipe pitch and size, that the chimney creates a positive draft, and that the piping materials are in good condition. • See National Fuel Gas Code, Part 7, ANSI Z223.1. • Check combustion air. Insure that unrestricted outside air access or louvered doors provide sufficient air for combustion. See National Fuel Gas Code, Part 5, ANSI Z223.1. • Check burner flame characteristics. Normally the flame should be a blue, soft tipped, stable flame. • Check pilot flame characteristics. The pilot flame should be a blue, sharp tipped, stable flame that is directed toward the safety pilot. • Check condition of combustion chamber. Inspect for signs of rust, corrosion, or carboning and determine that flame characteristics do not change at the beginning of the fan blower operation. See National Fuel • Gas Code, Appendix H, ANSI Z223.1. • Check appliances for rated input and pressure. If you see any indications of over firing, clock the meter for appliance input and conduct a manifold pressure test. • Examine flues and chimneys for blockage by animals’ nests or debris (such as chipped or cracked masonry).
Carbon MonoxideEXHIBIT A (CONTINUED) - Vented Appliance Guide • For vented room heaters, excessive carbon monoxide shall be defined as 0.02% (200ppm) in an air-free Sample of the flue gases when tested in an area having normal oxygen supply. For all other vented appliances, it shall be defined as 0.04% (400ppm) in an air-free sample of the flue gases when tested in an area having a normal oxygen supply. • If the Field Service Representative suspects that a forced air furnace is the source of CO, he or she will create elevated carbon monoxide levels in the combustion chamber by reducing secondary air for combustion. • Verify levels of carbon monoxide in vent stack. Measure CO levels at several registers in the premise. If the Representative finds readings in any register when he or she found none in the initial readings, it is likely from a crack in the heat exchanger. • Ambient air CO readings for vented appliances must not exceed 0ppm. If measurements do exceed the 0 ppm limit, apply provisions of the Warning Tag procedure as defined in MS.406.
Carbon MonoxideEXHIBIT B - Unvented Appliance Guide • If you suspect an unvented appliance as the source or the CO in the ambient air, take CO measurements within several feet of the appliance to verify it is the source. • If CO levels dissipate to acceptable levels as you move several feet away from the unit, you do not have to take any action. If readings do not reach acceptable levels while taking readings as you move several feet away from the unit, tag the unit and isolate. • Check combustion air. Insure that provisions exist to supply sufficient air for combustion. See National Fuel Gas Code, Part 5, ANSI Z223.1. • Check condition of combustion chamber. Inspect for signs of rust, corrosion, or carboning and determine flame characteristics. See National Fuel Gas Code, Appendix H, ANSI Z223.1. • Check appliances for rated input and pressure. If you notice any indications of over firing, clock the meter for appliance input and conduct a manifold pressure test. • If a permanently installed unvented appliance, such as a gas range, vent free space heater, or gas log, appears to be the source of the CO in the ambient air, take appropriate action and apply provisions of the Warning Tag procedure (MS.406) based on the following levels: • 0 – 15 ppm. No action required. Advise residents that you did not find high levels of CO. • Above 15 ppm. Place an “A” tag on the appliance you determine is contributing to the elevated levels of CO, shut off, isolate, and advise the customer.