Category Archives: safety

Lori Traweek AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for Children

Safety is the top priority for the American Gas Association (AGA) and our more than 200 member companies across the country. It is the very reason AGA co-founded the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization dedicated to educating professionals and homeowners about the importance of following safe digging procedures, in 2000.

811logowithshovel 227x300 AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for ChildrenThis April marks the seventh annual National Safe Digging Month, an initiative put in place by the CGA to remind the public to “Call Before You Dig” to determine where your underground utility lines are located before beginning any digging project. To get started, dial 811 to be connected to your local One Call Center which will gather information about the project and alert your local utility company. Crews will then locate the utility lines near your planned project and make sure they are properly marked so you can be sure to avoid them. The process is fast, simple and free.

People digging often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked due to concerns about project delays, costs and previous calls about other projects. These assumptions can be life-threatening.

Every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be responsible for fines and repair costs.

According to the CGA, excavation damages for all underground facilities have decreased by approximately 50 percent since 2004, thanks in large part to the engaging and innovative outreach of “Call 811” campaigns by local natural gas utilities.

Promoting safe digging awareness is just one of the many ways America’s natural gas utilities continuously work to keep communities safe and to help ensure our distribution and transmission system continues to be the safest and most reliable method of delivering energy in the nation.

In conjunction with this month’s focus on safety, AGA released a YouTube video today to help educate youth about the importance of natural gas safety in the home. The animated video, aimed at elementary and middle school aged children, explains which appliances use natural gas, how to identify a natural gas leak and what to do if a leak occurs. These key safety messages are not only critical to family and caregivers, but the next generation of utility customers. Feel free to share the video on your company’s social media platforms.

video screen shot with play button 300x204 AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for Children

Click the play button above to watch the video on YouTube.

We’d also like to encourage you to share your company’s plans for National Safe Digging Month in the comments section below or by e-mailing AGA will feature member companies on our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as future blog posts throughout April.

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Lisa Dundon AGA Incoming Chairman: Natural Gas Provides Solutions for Our Economy and Our Environment

The American Gas Association (AGA) hosted a media roundtable breakfast this morning to introduce 2014 AGA Chairman Gregg Kantor, president and CEO of NW Natural. At the event, Kantor discussed the theme for his chairmanship, “Solutions for Our Economy and Our Environment,” outlining how natural gas offers the potential for a stronger economy and a healthier planet.

“America’s natural gas utilities can bridge the divide between an either/or approach to fostering economic growth and protecting the environment,” said Kantor. “With natural gas we can do both and so much more.”

Kantor Crop 856x1024 AGA Incoming Chairman: Natural Gas Provides Solutions for Our Economy and Our Environment

Incoming AGA Chairman for 2014 says natural gas provides solutions for our economy and our environment.

As AGA Chairman, Kantor said his top priority will be to continue to deliver natural gas in a safe, clean and responsible manner. To achieve this goal, Kantor noted, the industry must work together to enhance an already excellent safety record, upgrade and enhance our nation’s natural gas infrastructure to continue to improve safety while reducing emissions, expand the use of natural gas in transportation, and invest in efficient technologies that utilize our nation’s abundance of natural gas effectively.

NW Natural is headquartered in Portland, Ore. and provides natural gas service to approximately 689,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Kantor also emphasized the importance of natural gas working alongside – not competing against – other forms of renewable energy.

“Natural gas can be a partner with other clean energy sources, including renewables,” said Kantor. “We need to get away from the notion that they are somehow at odds. That narrative is over, as far as I’m concerned.”

Kantor McCurdy Crop3 AGA Incoming Chairman: Natural Gas Provides Solutions for Our Economy and Our Environment

Incoming AGA Chairman Gregg Kantor and AGA President and CEO Dave McCurdy discuss the vision for natural gas in 2014.

After the presentation, Kantor and AGA President & CEO Dave McCurdy took questions from reporters of top energy trade, policy and environmental publications, including Environment & Energy Publishing, Platts, SNL News, Politico, CQ Roll Call and The Hill.

AGA will post a short video interview with Gregg Kantor on AGA’s YouTube page next week. Stay tuned!


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Lisa Dundon Putting Our Energy into Education

Guest Blog Post by Gina Meehan, Supervisor of Public Awareness, Ameren Illinois

Talking to children about natural gas safety is one of the best things about my job. And at Ameren Illinois, we’re serious about making learning fun.

Sniffy 061 Putting Our Energy into Education

Our mascot Sniffy the Sniffasaurus teaches children how to recognize a gas leak by using their senses to detect the odor of rotten eggs, while the “Wheel of Misfortune” game highlights the dangers of digging before calling 811. I also use exciting methods to communicate our “Smell Gas, Leave Fast” message.

Kids and teachers alike love Along with fun facts, videos and interactive games, this website provides free teaching materials and resources about energy safety. At the end of 2012, this program had reached 50,000 K-6 students and has continued to grow throughout the 2013-2014 school year.

2008 Big Truck Day2 Putting Our Energy into EducationFrom campsites to neighborhood parades, Ameren Illinois looks for unique opportunities to engage kids year-round. At “Big Truck Day” 1,000 pre-kindergarten students discovered Sniffy and just how cool utility trucks really are. Giveaways like scratch-n-sniff cards help us bring safety messages into the home.

While energy education doesn’t end with the classroom, it’s a great place to start.

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Lisa Dundon Use Your Senses To Recognize A Leak

Guest Blogger: Anne Lowe, National Energy Foundation, Program Director

Natural gas leaks are rare, but being able to recognize and respond to a suspected leak is an important part of living and working safely. Educating children and their families to see, smell and hear clues to recognize a leak is an essential part of the safety mission for National Energy Foundation (NEF) and its natural gas utility partners.

Seeing a damaged connection to a gas appliance, smelling the “rotten egg” odor of mercaptan (the chemical odorant added to natural gas) or hearing a hissing sound are all signs that a leak may have occurred at home. Sightings of dead vegetation in an otherwise moist area or continuous bubbling of water may also suggest a pipeline leak in the community.

Knowing what to do when a leak is suspected is the second part of ensuring safety. Most importantly, get everyone outside and away from the area.  Don’t do anything that could cause a spark and ignite the gas; including using a light switch, a garage door opener or making a phone call.  From a safe location outside and away from the leak call you natural gas utility.

IMG 7467 xO Use Your Senses To Recognize A LeakThe Natural Gas Safety poster developed by NEF in collaboration with AGA teaches these and other important concepts.

NEF has solutions to help communicate the natural gas safety message. Classroom ENERGY SAFE KIDS presentations, education materials and an interactive website all support a utility’s public outreach plan. For more information, visit

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