Experts offer tips to prevent gas leaks

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One day after a deadly gas explosion in Durham, there are still more questions than answers.

One of those questions: what needs to be done in the event of a gas leak or a gas line break and just how common is it?

"We responded to 82 reported gas leaks in 2018," High Point Deputy Fire Chief Tim Wright said.

That's just in High Point.

The Greensboro Fire Department says they had a reported 125 calls from 2018 until now.

The Winston-Salem Fire Department reports 186 calls for the same time period.

"It's a very dangerous situation," Wright said.

He says it's more common than you think, but always unpredictable.

"You don't know what you're going to get until you're there," he said.

Wright says that's why it's so important to take each instance so seriously.

"A lot of times people become very complacent with alarms, particularly if it has gone off a couple of times in a little bit," he said. "They don't want to leave. But you know they should take it very seriously and evacuate."

But it's even more crucial to prevent the problems in the first place.

"Everybody is always supposed to call 811 before you dig anywhere," he said.

It's the law to call. 811 is a free service that dispatches utility companies to scope out properties before people dig.

Executive director of NC811, Louis Panzer, says it's for everyone's safety.

"Dig with care around those marks. Be very careful not to disturb them," he said. "[There are] very specific colored markings. In the case of gas, it would be yellow. So you'd see yellow paint or flag."

Panzer says they've received 2 million calls in North Carolina last year.

It's the second highest call volume in the country.

He says if any gas lines are hit or are damaged, you need to call 911 immediately.

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