In 2017, MBS Engineering installed over 1,000 seismic valves for facilities like hospitals, schools, and big box stores. But why is that important information for your company? Seismic Gas Shut-Off Valves are essential to protecting your business from gas fires in the event of an earthquake. Often red in color, these valves are used as a safety device. Their role is to shut off natural gas lines in the event of an earthquake—something many facility managers can’t get to quickly enough in the event of an earthquake.
Every California business know that earthquakes are possible. Many have maintenance plans in place in the event an earthquake occurs. Yet many business owners don’t account for how sudden earthquakes occur. In many cases, manual shut-off valves often can’t be reached in time by your staff. Even small earthquakes nearly undetectable by us can result in a natural gas leak—and that can create problems for your facility. But having your natural gas lines inspected bi-annually by the experts at MBSEngineering plus having seismic valves in place can help protect your facility against the danger of deadly gas leaks caused by earthquakes both small and large.
Seismic Gas Shut-Off Valves are usually installed on the exterior of your facility. Our experts ensure the proper size and fit so your facility remains as safe as possible from gas leaks in the event of an earthquake. Seismic valves will stop gas ﬂow when an earthquake of significant magnitude occurs and decrease the chances of a ﬁre or explosion. Since our beginning, MBS Engineering has installed over 100,000 seismic valves in California.
So the next time you find yourself wondering how to make your facility safer in the event of earthquakes, turn to MBS Engineering. We have the experience, knowledge and skills to become your go-to company for all natural gas-related needs, including gas leak detection, repairs, seismic gas shutoff valve installations, new construction, microturbine energy solutions and more. We’d love to talk to you about your facility’s needs.
Hospitals And Earthquakes
Have you ever wondered how hospitals mitigate the effects of an earthquake? All facilities should have a solid earthquake safety plan. Safeguarding hospitals is especially vital for the community during the aftermath of an earthquake because there is a sharp increase in demand for medical services. The community will expect the these facilities to provide medical care to the injured as well as help those people who are suffering from the traumatic experience. Below are safety measures that hospitals should take in order to ensure function after an earthquake so that they can deliver quality care.
Secure and Back-Up Medical Systems
Many patients will not be able to protect themselves during an earthquake, so medical facilities need to take measures to, secure heavy medical equipment or any objects that could fall and injure patients and staff. Securing items that could fall, slide or topple during an earthquake will greatly reduce damage and its consequences. Studies have shown that the cost of components (equipment, furniture, partition walls) relative to the entire building cost is much higher for hospitals than for other buildings, mainly due to expensive medical equipment such as scanning and imaging machines. Preventing damage to medical equipment can greatly reduce the financial loss from earthquakes. Conducting a “Hazard Hunt” at your facility be can help in determining what might fall during an earthquake.
Pipes Must be Earthquake-Proof
Did you know natural gas contributes to one of four fires after an earthquake? The distribution systems for building utilities such as electricity, water, medical gases, cool air, steam, or telecommunications are vulnerable to earthquake damage. Leaks from gas pipes can be a fire hazard. If your medical facility is located near natural gas pipelines, make sure to hire a professional to install seismic shut-off valves in order to prevent a gas explosion caused by an earthquake.
Have a Planned Communication System
Damage to telecommunication lines can shut down communication systems. It is likely that communications will be interrupted after an earthquake. Cell phones will also stop working due to fallen towers. Evacuations might be necessary, making it difficult to keep records of patients and their conditions. Damage to roads and bridges might make it especially difficult for emergency responders and relief supplies to reach the hospital as well.
Get an Assessment of Damage
Make sure to get an immediate assessment of structural and non-structural damage post-earthquake. Damage to non-structural equipment can lead to a slowdown or halt of services (diagnostic equipment becomes inoperable or hallways become inaccessible). Have an MBS Engineering natural gas expert inspect the property for a gas leak due to the earthquake. Although the building may be structurally sound, an earthquake may lead to reduced operations due to preventable damage.
The level of a facility's preparedness will determine how severe the consequences of an earthquake will be. Prepared hospitals with reduced damage and backup power will keep most medical equipment functioning; prepared employees will remain calm and know how to react. Unprepared facilities will be in crisis rather than responding to the needs of the community. Hospitals need to stay open at the community’s time of greatest need. When a they are rendered inoperative during a disaster, the loss of emergency services makes it more difficult to save lives. Seismic protection is a must to prevent structural damage and secondary disasters such as fires and floods.
Do you know how much natural gas you’re using? A lot of people don’t. One third of energy commoditiesconsumed in California is natural gas. In fact, California's natural gas output equals about one-tenth of state demand. In fact, almost two-thirds of California households use natural gas for home heating, and about half of California's utility-scale net electricity generation is fueled by natural gas.
And when it comes to how we use natural gas, many consumers don’t realize how dependent they are on this commodity. But both homeowners and business owners need natural gas to run efficiently. And because natural gas is so convenient—accessible through pipes often hidden below ground—we don’t have to worry about running out of it. This likely contributes to many consumers not realizing all of the appliances they have capable of running on natural gas. Here are a few of them:
But natural gas isn’t just convenient. It’s also efficient. The direct use of natural gas achieves 92% efficiency, far better than any other energy source, and it cuts carbon emissions nearly in half. Plus it’s easier on the wallet, saving consumers hundreds of dollars every year compared to consumers using electricity.
Are you using natural gas? Be sure to have a professional perform bi-annual pipe inspections to check for rust, leaks, and other problems. At MBS Engineering we have the experience, knowledge and skills to become your go-to company for all of your natural gas-related needs. Providing services like gas leak detection, repairs, seismic gas shutoff valve installations, microturbine energy solutions, and more, we provide services to schools, hospitals and other commercial businesses throughout the state of California. Contact us today.
Winter is here. And if you didn’t know, natural gas is a huge contributor to keeping homes warm in California during the colder months. In fact, natural gas is used across the United States for heating. Approximately 116 million homes use natural gas, propane, electricity, and heating oil for home heating. Natural gas is used as heating fuel in 48% of the homes across the country. And it tends to be cheaper than electricity. Here are some ways you might be using natural gas around your home this winter.
According to the American Gas Association, more than 60 million American households prefer a natural gas heating system. Natural gas furnace systems have been made very easy to operate for new and experienced homeowners alike. And with efficiencies up to 96.6 percent, natural gas furnaces are one of the most efficient heating options available.
What kind of water heater do you have? If you’re like the majority of homeowners, you’ll answer “natural gas.” Not only are natural gas water heaters less expensive than electric ones, they can also heat your water a lot faster. Plus they’re more efficient at producing hot water, so your recovery time will be lower.
Most of the time we just press “start” on our appliances without bothering to think how they’re working. But from hot water in your dishwasher to warm showers to gas top ovens, natural gas uses are everywhere in your home.
When you think of fireplaces, you may think of the traditional log burning fireplace. But gas fireplaces have risen in popularity in recent years. In fact, your home may have one. They not only help to warm your home, but they’re safer to operate than traditional fireplaces because you don’t have to deal with wood, sparks, hot embers, or ash.
At MBS Engineering, we believe in the importance of natural gas. Maybe that’s why we’ve made it our mission to ensure homes and businesses utilizing natural gas are educated about things like ongoing maintenance, leaks, and even repairs. At MBS we have successfully performed over 800 gas system surveys, more than 50,000 seismic valve installations, over 100 complete gas system re-pipes, and 1,000’s of gas leak repairs since 2007. And we’ll help you too. No matter what natural gas service you need help with, we’d love to talk to you.
Did you know that you should have your gas pipelines inspected bi-annually? Many businesses like hospitals, schools, and even big box stores don’t realize that gas piping can deteriorate. It’s when businesses don’t maintain their pipelines that problems—such as a gas leak or an explosion— may occur. In fact, it’s reported that incidents involving natural gas pipelines cause an average of 17 fatalities and $133 M in property damage annually. Because most gas lines are made of galvanized steel, they tend to fall victim to rust and may need replacing—not just patching.
Recently, it was reported that an apparent gas explosion in Minneapolis was the cause of two deaths. A private school was left partially collapsed, leaving a custodian and a receptionist dead plus at least nine people injured. It’s important to note that gas lines across the U.S. have been in use for a long time and they won’t be going away anytime soon. While gas lines exist, there is also a certain amount of risk associated with them. While some pipes are maintained, other pipes will be neglected or suffer damage that causes them to leak. That’s why it’s so important to do your part. If you smell gas, don’t ignore it. Instead you should move away from the area and call in the experts who can perform gas leak detectionservices.
At MBS, we work with a team of contractors that are experts at servicing and maintenance of gas lines as well as quality assurance. In fact, we have the knowledge and skills to become your go-to company to safely handle all of your natural gas-related needs. Consider us your trusted experts in detecting and servicing any issues with your natural gas system.
Because gas leaks are a serious business, we always encourage customers to call us. This is true even when they’re unsure that what they’re smelling is a gas leak. We’d much rather customer be safe than sorry.
Don’t forget that MBS also offers emergency gas leak repair. Be sure to read the story of how this service recently helped a California school out of a dangerous situation.
MBS attended the WEI Conference in April. The conference brings together over 600 electric and natural gas energy operations managers, supervisors and front-line employees for three days of education and networking through thought-provoking seminars by industry leaders and keynote speakers.
Our digital marketing manager, Kathleen Kramer, spoke at the conference for two days about “Bridging the Digital Divide.” She shared her knowledge on how to communicate the value of a service with relevant content and useful information.
Creating relevant content is not only good for business, it also better serves current and future customers. Sharing useful information helps educate customers about your company’s expertise and value while building authority.
Kathleen shared some “Website Best Practices,” including the importance of being mobile-responsive, concise and informative, and providing easy communication for customers. In order to provide great service--communication is key. The customer must be able to contact your business easily. She also shared important tools we use to better communicate with our audience.
Seismic Safety Inspection
Did you know seismic shut off valves need to be cleaned out every 6-12 months in order to function properly? Seismic shut-off valves are required for use by the State Architect Division of California on all Natural Gas Lines (Seismic shut off valves are required for use on all Natural Gas Lines by the State Architect Division of California?). Having this valve installed will greatly reduce the risk of explosions or fires that could occur during earthquakes as well as any damage to gas line integrity. MBS Engineering inspects all existing seismic valves or recommends the proper type to install on existing gas lines if an earthquake valve is not installed. In the event of an earthquake, seismic shut off valves will close to prevent gas flow into a structure.Our skilled engineers will inspect, clean, and maintain your valves so that they work when you need them.
Gas Leak Survey
Gas lines, valves, and regulators have to be properly maintained and periodically checked for leaks with a sophisticated gas leak detector. Testing for leaks is essential, especially in an earthquake-prone area. MBS Engineering surveys are designed to locate leaking corroded gas lines.
Gas Regulator Maintenance
Why is gas regulator maintenance important? Faulty regulators can cause issues such as venting of gas out of relief vents, lockups, and drops in regulator set point. These can not only cause issues with the efficiency and lifespan of downstream equipment but can also raise safety issues within the gas system.
Manual Shut-off Valve Maintenance
Manual Shut Off Valves that are not properly maintained by regular exercise can become corroded and frozen over time. MBS Engineering will inspect and exercise all valves within the system and make recommendations for valve replacement, if necessary.
MBS Engineering’s Gas Maintenance Program is a yearly Auditing, Testing and Reporting service for your property’s gas system that identifies, tests and prevents gas related issues caused by aging or obsolete equipment. It covers your gas system assets and outlines recommendations for training, maintenance or repair to keep your gas system performing efficiently and safely.
Prevention is always better than reaction in the case of gas leaks. But sometimes, a gas leak will still occur.
However, for those who are unsure whether or not they’re smelling gas an alarming trend occurs: they ignore it. Instead of turning a blind eye to a potential gas leak, learn more about the problem and know how to help prevent a dangerous problem.
Gas leaks, when ignored, have a tendency to cause a lot of health problems. Dizziness, nausea and headaches are some of the more minor side effects. Memory loss and vomiting are among the more severe. Depending on the problem, death may even occur—and that is truly tragic when people realize that gas leaks deaths are very preventable. One of the best ways to help prevent a gas leak from occurring is to have your commercial meter and gas lines inspected and repaired as needed bi-annually. The professionals at MBS have worked with clients up and down the California coast to help with prevention—and we can help you too.
A leak may still occur, even if you work to prevent them. In most instances where our clients are working to prevent gas leaks, a leak occurs due to an earthquake. Mild or major, earthquakes can break gas lines. That’s why it’s important to have Seismic Gas Shut-Off Valves (SGSOV) which can prevent gas fires after an earthquake. MBS has installed thousands of automatic gas shut off valves throughout the state of California. Of course, there are times that even prevention can’t stop a gas leak. Here are three signs that you may be experiencing a gas leak.
The Tell-Tale Smell
Natural gas has a very distinct odor due to an additive that utility companies use called mercaptan. While harmless, the rotten egg smell alerts business owners to a gas leak quickly as natural gas is both colorless and odorless.
A Hissing Sound
Do you know where your gas lines are located? Most are closer to the surface than we realize. If you hear a hissing sound, do a little investigating. Make sure the noise is not coming from an appliance. If you discover the sound is a leaky gas line or the sound is accompanied by the smell of gas, immediately exit the area and contact the professionals.
An Unexplained Mist
Most people don’t realize this but a broken gas line may give itself away by emitting a strange white cloud around your building. Again, you should also notice an odd smell. If your office appears to be cloaked in a strange white fog, exit the area immediately and dial 911 as well as a gas leak detection service or your local utility company.
The next time you suspect a gas leak—or you want to prevent problems down the road—contact the experts at MBS. We’ve helped hundreds of clients throughout California and we’re here to help you, too.
MBS was recently tasked with a significant gas line replacement project at a local California college. The school’s aging system needed to be replaced, which included 450 feet of gas pipelines and eight manual shut-off valves.
A portion of the project was quite a time sensitive because it needed to be finished in the short time window between the end of classes and graduation. We also discovered that the ground was all sandstone, which required more intensive manual labor to work with. Nevertheless, MBS completed the high priority work in less than two weeks and the rest of the project ahead of schedule as well.
MBS discovered several leaks throughout the aging system in both the pipelines and shut-off valves. The old pipelines were installed near the surface, so MBS installed the newer yellow pipes six feet below the surface, as current code demands.
We also removed an antiquated vault that led to the old manual shut-off valves. It was no longer vital, so we replaced it with a tube that provided better access to the shutoff valves. In doing so, MBS encountered an interesting problem to solve: the vault weighed 15 tons and needed to be removed from a hill! The solution? Hoist the massive structure out with a crane and load it onto a truck and off the site. Our engineers somehow made the task look easy.
Their system was back in working order soon. No matter how complex your project may seem, MBS has the knowledge and experience to tackle it. We take great pride in our work and ensuring the safety of our community.