Earthquake Preparedness

Important safety measures to take.

Below is information regarding our natural gas pipeline system, as well as steps you can take with your natural gas service at home.

Our system

We believe earthquake preparedness is essential. NW Natural has been participating with other organizations and agencies on earthquake preparedness as part of a state-wide effort.

Our transmission mains, distribution mains and services are designed, constructed, operated and maintained in accordance with Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations.

We do not have any cast iron or bare steel in our transmission systems. The modern materials that we have today in our pipeline system are more ductile (flexible) and perform better in land movement.

Shutoff valves

NW Natural also has thousands of shut-off valves to control our system in the event of any emergency. Some close automatically if there is a change in pressure caused by damage to a pipe facility; some are controlled remotely from our Gas Control Center; and others are manually operated. These valves are installed according to Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations.

Further, NW Natural has installed more than 200,000 excess flow valves (EFVs) throughout our system. They are installed on new or replaced service lines in the street, near the connection to the main. EFVs should automatically shut off gas in the event of damage to the service line.

Our gas control room is staffed 24 hours a day and is responsible for monitoring the company’s pipeline system. The control room staff can isolate large portions of our system in the event of a regional emergency. We also have a back-up control facility in another location.

First responders

NW Natural maintains emergency first responders around the clock. In the event of an earthquake, field personnel will be called out to respond to the event. We also have mutual assistance agreements with other natural gas utilities across the Western U.S. which allows access to additional trained personnel in case of an extended event.

Learn more about what we’re doing to keep our system safe.


Your home

Before an earthquake:

  • Secure natural gas equipment, such as water heaters, to minimize movement during a quake.
  • Keep combustibles like paint cans and rags away from your furnace and water heater.
  • Replace semi-rigid gas connectors with flexible ones.
  • Review this information regarding shutting off your gas meter.
  • If you choose to install an earthquake shut-off valve (equipment that senses ground movement or shaking and shuts off the flow of gas automatically), you need to contact a qualified, licensed contractor. Click here to learn more.

After an earthquake:

  • After an earthquake, be sure that no flammable items have fallen or spilled near natural gas appliances.
  • If you detect a strong natural gas odor, it’s always safest to leave the area on foot and then call NW Natural at 800-882-3377.
  • DO NOT turn off your natural gas unless you smell gas, hear gas blowing or see other signs of a leak. ONLY turn off your gas if it is safe to do so.
  • If you turn off your gas, DO NOT turn it back on yourself. Leave it off and contact NW Natural. Appliances and natural gas lines will need to be checked for possible damage before service can be safely restored.
  • Be aware that in the event of a significant natural disaster, increased work volumes may cause service delays. It could be days before a service technician can be scheduled to restore service at your home.
  • If you have an earthquake valve installed and it has closed you will need to contact a qualified, licensed contractor to reset the valve and relight your natural gas appliances.

See information on turning off your home’s natural gas meter.

Learn more about shut-off valves.