In thinking about what we can learn from the horrible devastation that has followed the largest Japanese earthquake in recorded history, one key take-away is the need for an emergency gas shut-off tool. The images of burning houses have made this very clear. In a major disaster (earthquake, tornadoes, violent storms, etc.) gas lines can break and the natural gas that may be used for cooking and heating in your home can ignite and cause a deadly explosion. The fire from such an explosion can quickly spread to other homes or buildings as well.
A few years ago I showed my wife and children how to shut off the gas in case of the kind of catastrophe that we have seen in Japan. I not only have gas shut-off tools in my emergency kits, but I have a gas shut off tool (the one pictured here) hanging in our garage in a special place for immediate access to use in shutting off the gas.
Japan has created a billion dollar earthquake early warning system designed to give residents of Japan several seconds (up to 30 seconds for some residents in this earthquake) warning before feeling the earthquake. Though this might not seem like much time, it does give enough time for some people to shut off the natural gas supply to their homes and get beneath a table or other protective object. If you know what you are doing and you have the right tool handy (there is no way to do it by hand) it only takes a few second to secure yourself again a possible explosion.
Make sure to learn the basics of how to shut of the gas to your home. Then make sure you have an appropriate gas shut off tool. There are many available in the market. I like the 2-in-1 POGO (Pry Off, Gas Off) Pry Bar Emergency Tool (pictured above) as the pry bar can be used to deal with jammed doors or debris that might need to be pried off in a disaster. I also like this 4-in-1 Emergency Tool (pictured here). It is more compact (good for putting in your emergency kit) and can also be used to turn off water as well as to pry open jammed doors and dig through debris.
If access to your gas shut-off is secure (no one can randomly access your shutoff and turn it off as a prank - or otherwise), you might consider storing your shut-off tool right next to your shut-off valve. Otherwise store it in a secure place that is in your natural path to get to the shut-off. Should you ever need it in an emergency or disaster, it will be well worth the few dollars you will spend to make sure that you have a gas shut-off tool.
Every Life Secure