Meadville Tribune

June 27, 2013

Flooding safety tips may come in handy over next several days


Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — Given that flooding in the area may be a concern through the middle of next week, The Crawford County Office of Emergency Services and National Fuel Distribution Corporation have issued safety tips for dealing with flooded roads and basements.

Flash floods are the number one weather-related killer in the United States with around 140 deaths recorded each year, according to the Crawford County Office of Emergency Services. Flash floods can happen anywhere at any time during a heavy downpour.

Motorists should never drive through flooded areas even if it looks shallow enough to cross, according to Emergency Services. The large majority of deaths due to flash flooding occur with people driving through flooded areas.  Water only a foot deep can displace a 1500-pound vehicle.  Two feet of water can easily carry most automobiles. Roads concealed by water may not be intact. 

As a result Emergency Services advises: turn around — don’t drown!

National Fuel Distribution Corp. offers its natural gas customers safety tips should they experience flooding in their basements:

n If flooding has affected a customer’s natural gas appliances (furnaces, hot water tanks) the customer should not attempt to re-light the pilot light on that equipment. If furnace or hot water tank controls were submerged, the floodwater may have caused damage that could affect the safe operation of the equipment. A qualified contractor should be called to inspect the appliances.

n While the basement is flooded, customers should NOT attempt to adjust any gas equipment or their gas meter.

n Customers should not turn on any gas valve that has been turned off by National Fuel or emergency personnel when flooding has occurred.  Once the water has subsided, contact National Fuel, toll-free,  at (800) 444-3130 and the company will test and restore the service at no charge to its customers.  Appliances affected by floodwater will remain turned off and the customer will be required to contact a heating contractor or plumber to verify that the equipment will operate safely.

n As always, if a gas odor is present, the customer should open a window for ventilation, leave the premises, and call National Fuel, toll-free, at (800) 444-3130 immediately. Do not use any appliances or operate any electrical switches if a gas odor is present.

Representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive emergency calls.