Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter
Atmos Energy and first responders in Richardson and Plano are highlighting their training partnerships to prevent natural gas accidents.
Atmos Energy is recognizing its partnership with first responders this week.
On Tuesday morning, the natural gas provider hosted testimonials by Plano and Richardson agencies about the benefits of training relationships.
"In the fire service, we never like to say we're afraid of something, but that really concerns us when we can't see something," said Richardson Battalion Chief Kenneth Jacks, who is in charge of department training. "When we can't see something, we can't fight it."
Jacks said he saw the potentially fatal effects of a natural gas leak firsthand when a home in his city exploded about a decade ago.
Plano police spokesman David Tilley said his department also dealt with its own knowledge gap when Anson Chi, who is headed to federal prison, tampered with an Atmos gas regulator station on Parker Road in 2012.
"When we had all of our calls coming in, there were a lot of questions that I didn't know," Tilley said.
"We know about natural gas, we know the book smart stuff, but until you get hands on, it's totally different," Jacks said.
Representatives from both agencies have since gone through tours and training with Atmos Energy.
The natural gas provider also opened up its facilities to media on Tuesday to show the proactive steps employees take, such as driving trucks through neighborhoods at certain time intervals to look for leaks and mark and fix problems before they escalate.
Atmos also routinely uses "pigs" to clean out pipelines, including smart technology to detect possible problems in bigger lines.
"Our first concern is about safety," said John McDill, vice president of pipeline safety.