DU Marks National Gas Utility Workers' Day
Posted March 16, 2017
Saturday, March 18th is “National Gas Utility Workers’ Day” – set aside to commemorate the date of the New London, Texas school explosion in 1937 that led to the widespread odorization of natural gas and an increased emphasis on safety. DU will mark the occasion by honoring workers from its Natural Gas Department on Friday.
Butch Schmidt, Gas/Water/Wastewater Field Superintendent for Decatur Utilities, said DU’s gas workers are committed to providing customers with an economical choice for heating their homes, heating water and fueling business and industrial process. At the same time, Schmidt said safety is a top priority. DU has received the American Public Gas Association Award for the past two years (2014 and 2015). The APGA Safety Award is presented each August in recognition of the successful efforts made by natural gas utilities like DU to ensure the safety of employees and customers as well as the integrity of the natural gas system.
“We stress safety in all aspects of our daily utility operations – including employees who work around natural gas lines,” he said. “We also aggressively promote the AlabamaOne Call System where customers can call “811” to request that underground utility lines be marked before they dig on private or public property.” It is Alabama state law that customers call 811 at least 48 hours before they begin digging.
DU also recently launched “Safety in a Sniff” – a safety program for elementary school students that demonstrates how to identify a potential gas leak and what to do to remain safe.
Schmidt reminds DU customers that the “rotten egg” odor is added to natural gas so it can be identified by smell. However, he said, possible gas leaks can also be recognized by a loud hissing sound and the sight of dirt being disturbed and/or water bubbling.
“If you suspect a leak, evacuate the area, get to a safe place and call DU at 256-552-1400,” he said.