Atlanta Gas Light prepares for winter, encourages gas customers to get ready

As they are getting ready, it’s key that customers get ready now.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 11:41 PM EDT
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RIVERDALE, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - It’s almost time to fire up more gas appliances like space heaters as winter is around the corner. Atlanta Gas Light is getting ready by hosting an emergency preparedness drill at their Technical Training Center in Riverdale on Friday night.

“We were testing to see how our employees respond to the emergency of a carbon monoxide order, where employees come out to where customers are taken over with high levels of carbon monoxide. We want to just test to see how our employees are responding to these orders. So, we know what to do here in technical training to improve any procedures that we have, safety procedures that we have in our current process and fix them for the future,” said Heath Irving, Training Manager at Southern Company Gas Technical Training Center. “We want to make sure that all of our customers are safe when our employees respond to these types of orders,” he said.

Staff with the company worked with the Clayton County Fire Department to conduct the mock drill. Officials said the simulated training exercise is important for them and you.

“In the wintertime carbon monoxide orders do come in,” Irving said. “They don’t come in as much as an emergency leak order comes in, but when they do come in, they’re some of our most important orders that we respond to. Most serious orders that we respond to,” he said. “We all know that carbon monoxide is considered as a silent killer. Sometimes our customers don’t understand what the procedures of what they’re going through, so when we do get the call, we take them very seriously,” Irving said.

Irving said as they are getting ready, it’s key that customers get ready now.

“Sometimes these types of orders come from a broken appliance. It could be a broken central furnace or a broken hot water heater or a broken space heater that is not burning correctly and it started admitting carbon monoxide fumes into a customer’s home,” Irving said. “So, it’s important for people to check now before we get into our heating season,” he said.

“We’re coming up on one of our busiest seasons, which is considered light up season. That’s really where a lot of our customers get reactivated, and they may not have been using their appliances for some time and we want to make sure that they’re all adequately prepared and safe to make sure that we can give them safer reliable energy,” said Dennis McGouirk, Regional Director for Atlanta Gas Light—South Metro Region. “The reason we do that and the reason it’s so important is because safety is our number one priority. The safety of our public, our people and our customers,” he said.

The company will assess how its personnel responded to this scenario.

“What we attempt to get today, is if we find any gaps in our current procedures to responding to these types of orders, we want to correct those and improve our training for the future,” Irving said.

They want you to review your homes, as well.

“Continue to check their carbon monoxide detectors,” Irving said. “Change the batteries in their carbon monoxide detectors and if they ever feel any symptoms of carbon monoxide don’t hesitate to give us a call,” he said.