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National Grid Trip

Students report on a trip to the National Grid training centre in Oldham

Gas fire pad demonstration
 A gas fire pad demonstration

The training centre in Oldham was very interesting and cold, with safety being promoted everywhere on the site.   The day opened up a wide range of career opportunities and showed how important gas is in keeping the country running. We started the day getting kitted out with safety boots, goggles and overalls and then we went onto the site to see the fire pad demonstration. Here we watched a demonstration on how to put out a gas fire – we got to see the strength of a fire, when the gas pressure was only at 2 bar which is only 20% of the original pressure when it pumped from other storage facilities. We got to see how National Grid engineers deal with fires started from different flammable substances and the different ways that fires can be extinguished.

Replacing an EVC
 Replacing EVC

Next in the workshops we had to replace an emergency valve (EVC). We spent about 10 minutes seeing it done and then trying it ourselves. After being shown how to fix and change a gas meter, they told us a gas leak had occurred and then it was our turn to step in and solve the problem! We also learnt how to bend copper piping, how to join copper piping using a solder method, how to join “plastic” pipe  using electricity to weld the ends and how to detect pipes hidden under floors and walls. 

After a very nice lunch, we went to what was called the ‘Night Set’.  The Night Set looked like an ordinary street with the usual houses and restaurants except one of the buildings had developed a gas leak!   We were shown how National Grid officers deal with gas leaks and even more difficultly, how they deal with stubborn people who don’t want to evacuate their own homes even when they could blow up! 
The trip was a big insight into the world of gas, how dangerous it can be and even why they put that horrible smell in it!  Don’t forget 0800 111 999 is the free emergency line to report gas leaks.