With the holiday season underway, Southern California Gas Co. is reminding its customers of important safety tips to keep friends and loved ones safe during the holidays and year-round.Customers should be vigilant and question anyone who presents themselves as a representative of SoCalGas, especially if the visit is unscheduled. The following tips can help you protect your home from utility-worker imposters:
Customers should ask for identification before allowing someone into the home. SoCalGas workers who perform in-home appliance services, work on gas meters or work on gas pipelines wear uniforms. However, some other employees do not. The majority of authorized SoCalGas field services employees will be in uniform with a SoCalGas company logo, carry an official employee badge with a photo, and most of the time drive a company car bearing the SoCalGas logo. Most SoCalGas employee visits are in response to a service request. If no one scheduled an appointment, call SoCalGas before allowing anyone into the home. To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a representative of SoCalGas, customers are encouraged to ask for proper identification or call SoCalGas at 1-800-427-2200 (or 1-800-342-4545 in Spanish) during normal business hours. SoCalGas customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit the SoCalGas website for more information on staying safe.As temperatures drop, another threat to safety is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO poisoning can occur as a result of a poorly ventilated heater or a CO leak from another source. Symptoms can include nausea, headaches, paralysis and even death. SoCalGas wants its customers to remember the following tips to help prevent CO poisoning:Have natural gas furnaces checked at least once a year by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas. Vacuum and clean regularly in and around the furnace, particularly around the burner compartment to prevent a build-up of dust and lint. Never store items in, on or around the appliance that can obstruct airflow. Most forced-air units have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulating it throughout the home. Check furnace filters every month during the heating season and clean or replace the filter when necessary. When installing a new or cleaned furnace filter, be sure to re-install the front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly; never operate the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place because doing so may create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Check the appearance of the flame. If the flame is yellow, large and unsteady, the furnace needs to be inspected immediately by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas to have the condition corrected. Using an unvented gas heater in your home is dangerous and a violation of the California Health and Safety Code. Never use your oven, range or outdoor barbecue to heat your home because these appliances are not designed for this purpose. If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from CO poisoning, call 911 immediately.