ALEX CITY, AL (WSFA) - White smoke filled the air in Alexander City on Thursday, but it was all part of a gas line strike simulation.
“We’ll give them an idea of what kind of characteristics they should be looking for in the event of a leak or release," said McKay Lyvers, with Alabama 811. "Also, just kind of making sure that they understand what their roles and responsibilities are.”
It was put on by Spire Alabama, the Alexander City Gas Department, among others.
“If an incident were to ever occur with one of these gas or pipeline systems, usually that’s going to make the news, just due to the nature of the product," said Lyvers.
Robert Cooper, an excavator, was in attendance. He works on pipelines on a daily basis.
“They [people] don’t think about what’s underneath the ground and the hazards that are present whenever you begin to excavate," Cooper said.
Cooper along with Lyvers said simulations like the one held in Alexander City are necessary.
“I think most people hear a message better whenever there’s a little hands on part of it. I think it adds something to it,” Cooper said.
“The consequences can be bad regardless of the product. So, just having that general knowledge and just having a little bit of a better education as to what to do around one of these pipelines is crucial,” said Lyvers.
The purpose of the simulation was to show people how to handle a situation like a gas leak, should one ever occur, but mainly teach them how to prevent one from happening in the first place.
“We want people to call prior to any type of excavation and to have those lines marked above ground so they don’t hit them in any type of excavation situation," said Cooper.
Cooper said any time you “penetrate the earth’s surface,” it’s best to call 811 to be sure there isn’t a pipeline below.
This year, Alabama 811 will be doing seven mock gas line strikes across the state of Alabama. Just last week, there was one in Birmingham.