With people trying to stay warm, firefighters do see an increase in emergency calls,
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As winter approaches and temperatures dip, the probability of natural gas fires goes up.
The main culprit of these types of fires is digging.
In 2022 alone, there were over 1,300 incidents in California where lines were damaged due to digging.
One hundred seven of those incidents happened in Fresno County.
That's why experts are working hard to bring down those stats, using live full-scale exercises.
"We're simulating a car running into a gas meter causing an explosion and all kinds of things, and with lots of injuries," said Jeff Smith, PG&E Spokesperson.
Both PG&E employees and Fresno Firefighters were put through a live simulation using live fire and explosives, putting them in real-life situations to help keep people safe.
"The chaos is around you, and the panic is around you. The fire department folks and PG&E folks need to remain calm. They need to know how to deal with individuals that are in this emergency type situation," explained Smith.
With people trying to stay warm, firefighters do see an increase in emergency calls, and when it comes to relighting pilots, it's best to leave it to the professionals.
"Gas is an extremely dangerous substance, and you want to make sure that you have someone that is prepared and experienced in dealing with it," said Smith.
"We do respond to increased calls for warming fires, and we understand folks are just trying to stay warm and get by. We just want to remind everyone to do so in a safe manner," added Joshua Sellers, Public Information Officer with the Fresno Fire Department.
The simulation training also serves a greater purpose, providing a space where the new generation can learn from those who have been on the frontlines before.
"As folks end up leaving their career if they haven't shared that knowledge and that experience with the next generation that's coming in, there's a huge loss," explained Smith.