Shutting off Your Utilities During an Emergency: In many situations involving an emergency, authorities may request you shut off the utilities servicing your home. This is generally for safety purposes. Being familiar with the processes involved in shutting off your utilities during an emergency, ensures you can handle the situation calmly and rationally.
The utilities you will be required to shut off will be determined by the type of disaster:
- Shutting off gas: Gas is generally shut off to prevent the spread of fire following a disaster. There are different shut off methods for different states and countries. To ensure you are familiar with the process of shutting off the gas for your home, contact your gas provider.
Share the procedure with all members of the family- it is important that everyone knows how to do this.
In the event that you do have to turn the gas off, ensure you have a professional turn it back on.
- Water: In the event of a disaster, it is possible that a cracked pipe in the water mains could contaminate the water leading to your home. For this reason it is sometimes necessary to shut off the water leading to your home.
To effectively shut off the water supply to your home, locate the main house valve for your water supply (it may be useful to know this ahead of time, to avoid having to look for it in an emergency situation) and simply turn it to shut. Ensure the valve is completely shut. You may turn the water back on once authorities have agreed it is safe to do so.
As water valves have a tendency to rust, ensure you regularly check yours and replace it if necessary. This will make opening and closing the valve easier in an emergency situation.
- Electricity: You may be requested to shut of your electricity if there is concern that gas is leaking. Electrical sparks have the potential to ignite gas, thus causing an explosion.
To shut off the electricity to your home, locate your circuit box (it may be useful to know the location of your circuit box ahead of time, this will save time and confusion in the event of a disaster).
Shut off each individual circuit in the circuit box, finally, shut off the main circuit breaker.
Teach all responsible members of your family how to shut off the electricity.