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  1. #1
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    Default gas line ruptures

    I am looking for opinions or sop from folks reguarding tactics for handling natural gas and/or propane line emergencies. I am looking for information more from a first in engine company perspective with firefighters trained at the hazmat technician level. It is common practice in our area to simply fold over and clamp or tape the line(with residential service lines off the main) back on it self slowing or stopping the leak. Recently I have heard that this practice can cause static electricity concerns. Any thoughts are welcomed.
    Thank you


  2. #2
    Forum Member SafetyPro's Avatar
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    We generally just secure the scene until the Gas Company arrives. They're usually on-scene within 5 minutes of our engine.
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

  3. #3
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    Folding over the line can cause a problem with older metal lines. The metal in the fold may split at the outsides of the crease. We always put down a quick spray of water over the work area to control the static hazard. For metal lines, a line plug works really well. It is a metal, cone shaped plug with threads on it and a nut shaped head to facilitate a wrench. We have had 20 minute waits for the gas company so we will attempt to stop the leak and when the gas company shows up we just hand it over to them for repair. the line needs to be in good shape where the plug goes so we will use a manual pipe cutter to cut the pipe further back so we have a nice end to work with. The pipe cutter is the type that has a small metal wheel that does the cutting as you rotate it around the pipe. You are not creating any sparks, simply displacing metal.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

  4. #4
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    Default

    You stated that this is for first in engine companies trained at the technician level. With this information I would assume that they have been trained in proper leak control. Folding/bending the line back on itself is definetly not a preferred method as you are working with material that has already been comprimised. Any added stress could create an even larger rupture or a running split in the line. I'm not one to shoot down other peoples methods so if this works for you great, but I would not advocate it. My suggestion would be to purchase some gas clamps, they range from modified vise grips for about $20 to professional upwards of $700. Clamp the line and when the gas company responds have them place their clamp behind yours so that you can remove your clamp and stay in service. As far as static there are plenty of methods for safely discharging it. A simple and inexpensive method is to use a burlap sack. Wet it down then wet the ground, drape the sack over the pipe ensuring that it also makes contact with the ground, now your charges are neutral. On our newest clamp (one of those high dollar professional jobs) there is an attached grounding wire with rod, sink the rod and you have 6 feet of wire. Also if you are ever unsure of your soils moisture content, remember that you can always saturate the ground with a handline before placing your ground rod. Don't neglect your ground wires, check their resistance regularly!

    Stay Safe

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    Default more on the situation.

    OFD- Just so no one worries too much... I wasnt so much refering to overpressurization type incident, but more when johny moron paving company digs through a plastic type line feeding someones house, usually at about 15psi(according to the local gas folks) in our area... When I questioned the same utility worker about static he said it was not a concern, but in the same breath he took a drag off his cigarette standing in hole that had just been dug to clamp a leaking gas line.
    Mark Taylor
    Firefighter/Paramedic/Rescue Whacker

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber mtnfireguy's Avatar
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    Static is always a concern and some of the gas company folks are the worst for violating safety procedures.

    The Safety guy for the gas company in our area provided all the FD's with plug kits and training how to use them. Also provided training on when to just leave it alone and secure the area.

    We have everything from 10psi to 600psi in our response area.
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
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    Default

    In regards to grounding to reduce static electricity, I recently took a class in Colorado at TTCI. We experimented with different grounding materials, from rods to plain old aluminum foil. The results for the standard rods were poor, and only slightly increased in efficiency when we layed them down, covered them up, added water to increase surface area, then added salt to further allow for electrical conductance. We finally utilized a piece of standard aluminum foil approx. 6' in length. We covered it up with dirt, soaked it, and took an ohms reading - the results far superceded the results for the rods. It was very impressive.

  8. #8
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    Default Grounding

    I went through the grounding presentation at Pueblo as well.The tin foil does appear to work but I have since been told by an electrician that it is not very durable. He told me that even a minor static charge can blow a hole in the foil. He suggested metal screen. Just the plain old hardware store stuff for screen doors. Apparently it also meets the electrical code where tin foil does not.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    We just shut off the main at the meter.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for the imput lance38 - I'll keep that in mind.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    If it's PE gas pipe it definitely raises a static electricity concern.

    You could probably use something you already carry like a hose clamp to stop the leak in a pinch. Get a sample piece of line from your gas company and find out.

    On the other hand, avoiding the stuff altogether is almost always the safest alternative. Secure the scene and use a valve or wait for the utility folks to arrive.
    ullrichk
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    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  12. #12
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    Default

    First off... you may want to reconsider using the term SOP's. Many departments are using SOG's or Standard Operating Guidelines for liability reasons. Procedures verses Guidelines...

    It's been my experience that the fire department would not get involved with a shut off operation (bending the pipe end back on itself) but instead would ensure that citizens were evacuated from their home(s), no ignition sources were present, monitor the downwind area with a CGI and have the local utility company conduct the repairs. Only in an extreme case would we mitigate the situation ourselves. Where I work and live uses Pacific Gas and Electric and they have always been efficient as far as responding to a gas leak.

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