Welcome to the first issue of Quick Tips, a new monthly publication from AEGIS Loss Control. Each month, we will send you useful information on products and services that will help you maintain safe and reliable operations.
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What Has AEGIS Loss Control Learned About Responding to Natural Gas Leaks During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
The coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, including the protocols for responding to reports of inside natural gas leaks. AEGIS Loss Control has been in touch with member companies across the country to learn how they are modifying their procedures during the pandemic. Although specific procedures vary from company to company, all member companies we contacted continue to advise the customer to evacuate the premises and move to a safe location when an inside odor complaint is registered with the call or dispatch center. Here’s what we learned about member company practices.
Call Center and Dispatch Center Operations
Many member companies have added pandemic-related questions to the standard list of questions posed to the caller, including:
- Has anyone been ill lately?
- Has anyone tested positive for COVID-19?
- Has anyone been quarantined, either due to coronavirus infection or as a precaution?
These answers are then relayed to the first responder assigned to the call.
First Responder Protocols
Every member company we contacted is implementing safeguards around their investigation protocols.
Questioning Upon Arrival
- Make contact with the customer.
- Re-question the customer about the health status of those living at the premises.
- Explain to the customer that the company will follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines during the investigation – primarily the social distancing guideline – maintaining a minimum separation of six feet.
- Make it safe. Determine if a hazard exists and then turn and lock off the meter for future investigation.
- Stay outside the premises, turn off the meter and conduct an outside leak investigation.
- Engage the local fire or police department to assist in the investigation and offer health-related services.
- In cases of a positive or suspected COVID-19 infection, first responders enter only after donning a Tyvek suit, face shield, hood and gloves.
- Investigate as usual and then, upon exiting, clean and disinfect personal protective equipment (PPE) and other tools and equipment.
- Document the condition, actions and findings as usual.
Cleaning and Disposing of PPE
- Implement new policies for cleaning PPE, tools and equipment.
- Dispose of all sanitary wipes and Tyvek suits in a separate bag for proper disposal.
- Wipe down all Combustible Gas Indicator (CGI) tools and equipment used in the premises.
- Two-person crews have been eliminated to help keep workers safely apart.
- Employees are allowed to bring their vehicles home, and work and respond from home.
- Work groups have been established and have been isolated from each other in an attempt to control the coronavirus from infecting an entire workforce.
- CDC guidelines are followed for suspected cases of coronavirus infection.
- Non-emergency customer premises work has been suspended.
- To minimize personal contact, construction renewals and new services have been stopped short of reconnecting the customer to eliminate re-piping and re-lighting of appliances.
- Inside surveys have been suspended.
- Outside routine work has been suspended.
- Credit and collection activities have been suspended.
To learn more about our COVID-19 conversations with members, contact Scot Macomber, by e-mail or phone at 201.508.2739.