A campaign aimed at exposing improperly installed gas lines in homes and businesses could help reduce fires and save lives.
The National Association of State Fire Marshals launched the Yellow CSST Safety Campaign, which shows improper grounding of corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) can cause fires when lightning occurs. Yellow CSST has been installed in more than 6 million homes in the U.S. since the ‘90s, providing natural gas and propane to residential, commercial and industrial structures.
“Unfortunately, fires are a natural part of life. But in this situation, they’re also avoidable,” said State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk. “Most homes and any gas piping should be grounded properly, but I am concerned about installations that weren’t held to safety codes used today.”
An electrical arc is enough to puncture the tubing’s thin wall, which can start a fire, Paulk said. Information on inspections and safety suggestions are on the campaign’s website at CSSTSafety.com.
Fire marshals across the country aren’t the only ones encouraging inspections. Alfa Insurance Vice President of Claims Bryan Hubbard said the company’s support of the Yellow CSST Safety Campaign is twofold.
“Our top priority is protecting policyholders in any way we can. In this situation, being aware of the potential dangers is key to preventing loss of property, and even death,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard said Alabama hasn’t recorded a significant number of CSST-related fires, however, such fires could have gone undetected if a home was a total loss.
“In an area with quick emergency response times, fires are often extinguished before the residence is a total loss. In that case, fire investigators are able to pinpoint the cause of the fire, including CSST,” Hubbard said. “If a fire breaks out in an area with slow response teams, a house could be a pile of ashes by the time investigators arrive.
For problems related to yellow CSST inspections, contact the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Alabama Department of Insurance, at (334) 241-4166 or via their website at www.firemarshal.Alabama.gov.