Columbia Fire Department gets natural gas safety training

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COLUMBIA – Ameren Missouri looked to educate the Columbia Fire Department about natural gas and how to find signs of gas leaks on Wednesday.


Ameren Missouri provides natural gas to 130,000 customers in Missouri. CFD is one of 86 fire departments Ameren reaches out to. Ameren visits half of the departments one year and visits half of the other departments the following year.


“We want to keep everybody safe, ” said Dennis Bennett, the supervisor of damage prevention and public awareness for Ameren Missouri. “We want the fire department to be safe, we want our employees to be safe if we have to go fix something and we want the public to be safe.”


Bennett said public safety is what they wanted to really focus on.


“As long as we know what those safety rules are, we’ll be very safe,” he said. “Natural gas is a safe, reliable form of energy as long as we follow those safety rules.”


Bennett said there are steps they want fire departments to take when gas emergencies happen.


“We ask them to first provide a security zone around the incident,” he said. “Keep the public back and provide us a place where we can work within that area between the incident and where the fire department is.”


Assistant Fire Chief Brad Fraizer said one of the biggest triggers of gas emergencies is construction.


“It tends to be related to construction activity,” he said. “Someone hitting a gas line when they’re digging. That tends to be the majority of what we see.”


Fraizer said it is important for his department to know what precautions to take when dealing with gas emergencies.


“It’s very helpful to have experts at Ameren come in and talk to us about what they recommend and what we can do before they get on the scene and we can work together with them to resolve,” he said.