[E]ngineers from the North West’s gas emergency service are expected to clock up more miles than Santa to keep energy flowing in Barrow through the festive season.
The man dressed in red and white will fly 1,355 miles from Lapland to Barrow-in-Furness, yet the red and white vans driven by Cadent’s local engineers will cover hundreds of thousands of miles in December (adding up to two million miles across a footprint which takes in half the UK).
Cadent is the company which keeps gas flowing to every home and business that uses grid gas (that’s almost 2.7 million in the North West region alone), for heating, cooking and power.
And it’s not just the engineers who will be keeping the Christmas holidays safely ticking over. Cadent also co-ordinates the National Gas Emergency Service, answering one call every 20 seconds (24/7, including on Christmas Day) to the national 0800 111 999 service.
If there’s an emergency in its network area – such as a suspected gas escape – the same team will arrange for a Cadent engineer to attend quickly.
Last December, the call handling team answered more than 170 calls from the Barrow-in-Furness and Millom area reporting potential gas escapes, out of a total of 9,012 such calls that month across the North West – with many calls coming in on Christmas Day itself.
John Duckworth, head of operations for Cadent in the North West, said: “We know we’re the last visitors you want to have in your house on Christmas Day, but it’s good for you to know that we’re there if you need us, if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak.
“The number to call if you smell gas or suspect a leak is 0800 111 999.
“To ensure your gas is working safely, it’s vital to have all your gas appliances – cookers, hobs, fires and boilers – checked and serviced by a qualified, Gas Safe registered engineer.
“This will give you peace of mind and ensure everything is working as it should when temperatures really start to bite over winter.
“Know the signs too of when your appliances aren’t working properly, including a lazy, yellow flame rather than a crisp blue one, and black marks around the appliance.
“Poorly maintained gas appliances can lead to problems with carbon monoxide poisoning which kills 40 people across the country each year and hospitalises another 4,000. Symptoms to look out for include headaches, dizziness, nausea and breathlessness.”
Cadent looks after a complex network of 80,000 miles of gas pipes running under roads and through fields of the North West, the Midlands, Eastern England, and North London.