Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Helping the Front Lines of COVID-19

MLGW workers fight the coronavirus one medical face shield at a time 

Five 3-D printers hum and zig-zag a steady and constant pattern at Reuben Hull’s East Memphis home. All are churning out the same product: medical face shield frames. Three printers occupy a spare bedroom. One runs in the hallway and another in a garage workshop.

Among MLGW, Hull and Gerald Jameson are both making medical face shield frames for Midsouth Makers. Although he doesn’t have a 3-D printer, IT’s Steven A. Robbins buys rolls of plastic filament needed for the process.

Hull spends his days as a lead electric maintenance mechanic at MLGW. Jameson works in MLGW’s Gas Pressure Regulations Department. At night and on weekends, both are among an army of local volunteers making medical face mask frames and shields. 

“We’ve got something to fight for,” Hull said as he monitored his machines and checked on their progress. “I don’t want innocent people to die.”

By helping in the fight, Jameson said, “I have no doubt we’re having an impact. So far, the group has printed and sent out more than 7,000 medical face shields.

With MLGW’s emphasis on safety, Robbins with Tech Support, found the group’s mission a good fit for him professionally as well as personally.  “Two of my relatives are nurses. They’re on the front lines,” he said. 

The nonprofit group gives the face shields to the Memphis Medical Society to distribute among local hospitals, medical clinics and doctor’s offices. On Sunday afternoons, Hull and Jameson join other volunteers with Midsouth Makers in Bartlett. Volunteers (limited to no more than 10) sanitize and package up frames, face shields and instructions.  

Hull found his niche when he saw a news article in late March about the medical face shields that Midsouth Makers were printing. The first week he made 217 face mask frames. The second week, he churned out 375 frames. (“I wasn’t sleeping much,” he admitted.)

Jameson got involved after his wife, a seamstress, saw a post on her Facebook page.  “I found out it was pretty easy,” Jameson said. While he’s at work, he added, “My wife hits a few buttons and takes the finished ones off and starts it back up for me.” He continues the process after work.

Memphis Medical Society members finish the final assembly with the plastic shields before sending them to those on the medical front lines. If you would like to help buy materials or have a 3-D printer, go to the Midsouth Makers web site: midsouthmakers.org.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Don’t go BOOM! National Safe Digging Month

You’ve seen it on the news. A report of a house blowing up in New Jersey. A story about a backhoe striking a natural gas pipeline causing a fire. A dramatic photo of the massive explosion in San Bruno, California. It happens too often, and research shows the main cause of gas pipeline damage comes from contractors, excavators and homeowners, many of whom haven’t called 811 to have their utility lines marked before digging.

In observation of National Safe Digging Month, MLGW wants you to be safe and Call 811 Before You Dig! Any time you plan to dig… There are some numbers you should know by heart, and 811 is one of them. It’s almost as easy to remember as 911. And it’s a good way to avoid a situation that might actually require an emergency call to 911. An explosion... BOOM! No one really wants that.

National Safe Digging Month reminds us that calling 811 before you dig prevents damage to underground utilities such as natural gas and electric lines and keeps residents safe. MLGW is observing National Safe Digging Month to increase awareness in Memphis and Shelby County to call 811 before you or your contractor do any digging.

When you call 811, underground utility lines on your property will be located free of charge. Tennessee law requires that you give notice to the 811 call center three business days (72 hours) before any digging begins so these utility lines can be located and marked. The service is free, and all residents who intend to dig or excavate or have contractors excavate on their property are required to call or have their contractor call 811. You will know your utilities have been marked by the painted lines on the ground showing where those utilities are located. It doesn’t hurt to take a photo of those lines for reference, but remember to always call 811.

Damage to underground utilities can occur during installation of a fence or mailbox, building a deck or additional room, and even gardening. “We want residents of Shelby County to realize that underground utility lines can be disturbed or damaged by common home improvement projects,” said J.T. Young, MLGW President and CEO. “Promoting awareness of National Safe Digging Month will inform residents and customers to always 811 before you dig, stressing the importance of natural gas safety.” Digging without calling can result in damage to underground utility lines, harm to residents, damage to property, disruption of neighborhood service, and fines and repair costs for those responsible.

If residents or contractors strike or damage a utility line in the process of excavation, they should immediately call MLGW and stop digging. Remember that natural gas smells like rotten eggs. If residents smell this strong odor, they should evacuate the area right away and call 911 and MLGW’s emergency line (528-4465) after leaving the area.

Don’t go BOOM! The best way to avoid dangerous situations is to always call 811 before you dig. For answers to frequently asked questions about Call 811 Before You Dig, check out Common Ground Alliance’s FAQs at http://commongroundalliance.com/programs/811/811-faqs. More information on calling 811 and natural gas pipeline safety can be found on MLGW’s website at mlgw.com.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Free Virtual Energy Workshop

We have a great opportunity coming up for families looking for resources to educate and entertain their children during the COVID-19 pandemic!

The Energy Monsters are hitting the (cyber) road with a live Eye Spy Virtual Energy Workshop on Tuesday, April 28 at 10 a.m. 

Families can register their children to attend for free by filling out a simple form at https://energyright.com/residential/energy-monsters/

Participants will receive registration information for the virtual workshop via email. We will also send reminder emails one day before and one hour before the workshop begins. The workshop will be 30-45 minutes long.

The workshop will be facilitated by professional educator Grant England and hosted via Zoom. 

There will be a number of security measures to reduce privacy risks when using the platform. These steps include:

  • Requiring a password to enter the meeting (each registrant will receive meeting login info via email) 
  • Disabling screen sharing for participants
  • Muting participants
  • Disabling private chat among participants
  • Locking the meeting after 5-10 minutes and enabling a Waiting Room feature that allows us to add/remove participants if necessary

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

It's Earth Day!

We only have one earth, but there are lots of us! What activities do you have planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our beautiful Earth? We hope you'll engage in activities that help protect and restore our state and our planet, while practicing social distancing. Here are some ideas you might consider:

·       Boost your mood and get some fresh air by going on a walk at lunch or in the evening with family

·       Grow a vegetable or herb garden - great for your physical and mental health

·       For take-out orders, opt out of disposable utensils and straws

·       Meal-plan before buying groceries and keep a running list of groceries that are enjoyed in your house

·       Don't throw out overripe fruit, make popsicles with it 

·       Do a plastic audit to begin reducing plastic at home 

·       Use food waste as compost for your garden

·       Develop a storm water runoff plan

·       Unsubscribe from junk mail 

·       Switch to reusable bags

·       Switch to e-books 

·       Repurpose jars

·       Plant a tree

Other ideas for celebrating Earth Day can be accessed by clicking here, here, and here!
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