When you get a call about a damaged gas pipe or a suspicious odor, the next steps can save lives. Follow safety guidelines to be ready. Learn more about electric safety.
- Keep the public clear of the area.
- Never park your vehicle under power lines or close to electrical equipment.
- Never use water to contain the oil in transformers and other electrical equipment. Use kitty litter and dirt, then call Avista.
- Stay clear of downed wires and keep others away.
- Don't move the wires.
- Don't assume a telephone or cable line on the ground is safe to move. It can be energized from somewhere else.
- Assume any nearby fence or object is also energized if the wire is touching it.
- Survey the area for other damage or wires that could cause problems.
- Avoid contact if oil is leaking from a transformer.
- Keep the oil away from storm drains and water ways.
- Beware of equipment on your vehicle such as pike poles. They may still conduct electricity because of dirt or carbon buildup.
- Call us and give us an accurate pole location.
- Do not touch the vehicle.
- Keep others away, because a line can spring in any direction when freed of the vehicle.
- Visually check the vehicle’s occupants and keep them calm and in the vehicle unless a threat is imminent (e.g., danger of fire or explosion).
- Instruct the occupant to open the door (but not step out).
- Jump free of the vehicle, landing on both feet together.
- Shuffle, don't walk, away from the vehicle.
- What the person should never do: never be in contact with the ground and the vehicle at the same time.
- Do not touch an occupant, either while that person is in the vehicle or jumping from the vehicle.
- Turn off the power supply at the breaker panel or fuse box, if possible.
- Never pull the meter.
- Don't cut service wires at the weatherhead.
- Crawl or walk with arms raised in front of you, palms toward you if in a smoke-filled structure. It reduces the possibility of contacting or grabbing an energized line.
- Assume it's energized and capable of electrocuting you. Assume anything in contact with the transformer is energized, too.
- If a vehicle is in contact with the transformer, treat the situation as you would a downed power line.
- Clear the entire area.
- Know that transformers can explode.
- Do not try to enter a vault or manhole containing burning electrical circuits or equipment.
- Avista will let you know when the power has been turned off so you can proceed.
Natural gas emergencies
When you get a call about a damaged gas pipe or a suspicious odor, the next steps can save lives. Follow safety guidelines to be ready. Learn more about natural gas safety.
- It's odorless, colorless—and toxic.
- Look for symptoms in people that mimic the flu, along with mental confusion and ringing in ears.
- Be aware that a person may seem intoxicated, a sign of poisoning.
- Look for pink skin, and red mucous membranes.
- Evacuate the immediate area and call Avista.
- Avista adds an odorant called mercaptan for faster detection.
- It can produce poisonous carbon monoxide gas when burned improperly by malfunctioning equipment.
- It's highly flammable and easily ignited by: matches, sparks, light switches, even telephones, radios, flares, two-way radios, doorbells, cell phones, automobile motors and other dialectical equipment can ignite it.
- Vapors may form an explosive mixture with air.
- Lighter than air and can migrate into enclosed spaces.
- Evacuate the immediate area.
- If necessary, turn the gas valve off at the meter or appliance. Do not turn it back on.
- Do NOT turn off any valves at the main or regulator station.
- Park a safe distance upwind from reported gas leak. When parking and approaching the scene, look for sewer manholes as gas can migrate into the sewer.
- Test for natural gas in manholes and sewers approaching the reported leak and never enter them.
- Don't extinguish the fire unless lives are in danger. Outdoors, burning gas is unlikely to explode.
- Check for gas accumulating in nearby buildings and sewers, and turn off systems that bring air into the building.
- Don't use water on burning gas where it is escaping, but spray it on items around the combustible area.
- Reroute traffic as necessary.
- Keep surrounding combustibles wet with spray stream if you can't shut off the supply.
- Shut off gas at the meter and inform Avista. If a gas fire continues to burn, the source is probably outside.
- Leave the gas off. Only trained Avista personnel should turn it back on.
- Check the surrounding area, including other buildings, for evidence of natural gas.
- Evacuate the building.
- Do not operate electrical switches or anything that can cause a spark.
- Turn off gas valves at the METER only. Do NOT turn it back on.
- Stay away from plastic pipe. It carries a static electrical charge that causes leaking gas to ignite.
- Evacuate the immediate area and stay upwind.