Xcel Energy wants to remind customers to keep snow off of natural gas meters. It can lead to dangerous gas buildup inside a house if the vents are covered.
"We have to have a clear place for that gas to vent off to incase there is a malfunction so the higher pressure gas doesnt enter the piping system in the home," says Mike Herro, Xcel Energy.
Snow and ice from roofs can drift onto meters and refreeze, increasing potential for a meter malfunction.
If you happen to smell natural gas inside your home there are some some things you should do to keep you and your family safe.
1. Don't turn lights on or off or use electrical switches including garage door openers under any circumstance.
2. Don't open any windows or doors other than the ones you pass on your way out.
3. Don't use a cell phone or any other phone while in the house.
4. Go to a neighbors and dial Xcel's emergency number 1-800-895-2999 or 911.
Remember carbon monoxide can develop if venting systems or appliances aren't operating properly.
Also leave a path way leading up to a hydrant so fire crews can reach the fire hydrant in a fair amount of time if there is an emergency.
"If the fire hydrant is shoveled out, it can be seen coming down the street. We can hook it up without having to shovel it out," says La Crescent Fire Chief Bernie Buehlar.
After you're yard is covered in white, make sure you remember to clean off fire hydrants and meters. It's a small things to remember, but it could keep your home and your family safe this winter.