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Pyre-side Chats: Do you know how to turn off your main gas line should there be a "catastrophic" event?

We have all seen in the media or read about fires at crematories. It's something we all hope we never experience for everyone's safety and property loss, but when pumping massive amounts of natural gas into your building, working together with a fire source like that of a cremation unit, it's often terrifying to think about.

When having our cremation unit installed and our natural gas hooked up, we had our gas company come in and show us where to cut the main gas line off from our building in the case of, what they called, a "catastrophic" event.

(Full Disclosure: I have never performed a cremation using propane, only natural gas. If propane is your fuel source, you would need to speak to a propane specialist about the main cutoff.)

The gas company showed us exactly where the cutoff is located on the exterior of the building. As you can see, it is hard to figure out or see where it is even when there isn't an emergency. We had it marked with tape so that everyone knows why it's there and exactly what to look for. We were shown that the rectangular bolt is to be turned counterclockwise from 9 o'clock to 6 o'clock. When the two holes line up, then we're assured that the gas is completely shut off to our building and can be locked out until everything is deemed safe by the gas company before turning it back on.

Sounds simple enough right? But how are you going to turn that bolt if you don't have a wrench in your hand at that exact moment? They recommended having a wrench attached to or hanging nearby, pre-fitted, easily accessible, and that visibly draws your attention to it.

With the flick of a thumb and one swift pull, the wrench will easily slide off the orange string

and is always accessible for the sole pupose of turning that one bolt. Contacting your gas company to walk you through and identify the shutoffs for your cremation unit is the safest best. They will be able to create a safety program or tips to ensure an emergency plan is in place. Once a plan is in place, each employee can then be walked through the safety protocols for shutting off the gas.

Cremation safety isn't the coolest or most glamorous topic to discuss. And while we never believe or think anything bad is going to happen at our locations, it's important to collectively share what we know to keep each other and our communities safe from that one even that may be deemed "catastrophic."

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