Emergency Utility Shut Off Information
Do you know where or how to shut off your utilities, if necessary? It’s important to know where they are located and how to shut them down, espeically in the event of a disaster. Being prepared is key. Take a look at the list below for information about shutting down those utilities.
Only turn off your gas if you smell a gas leak, hear hissing or see the meter running up quickly, which indicates a leak. To shut off the gas, use a wrench to turn the valve a quarter turn in either direction so it’s perpendicular with the pipe. If the valve is parallel with the pipe, it means the gas line is open. A standard wrench could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas. If possible, you should use a wrench that is designed not to spark against the metal of the gas meter. If you turn off your gas, you have to leave it off until a trained technician can check your home and ensure it is safe to turn it back on.
Turning off the main water valve does two things: It prevents contaminated water from entering the lines in a home, and it keeps gravity from draining water out of the home’s lines if there is a break in a pipe outside. To turn off the water, locate the main shut off valve and turn the knob or handle clockwise until it’s completely closed. You may need a wench to do this. Some older homes may also have a shut off inside their home located in the basement or garage.
Turning off the power to a home is crucial after a disaster because sparks from electric devices could ignite natural gas leaks. Unlike gas and water, turning off the electricity doesn’t require any tools. To shut it down, locate the electrical circuit box and switch off all the individual circuits before turning off the main circuit. When it is safe to restore power, turn on the main circuit first and then the individual circuits. Make sure everything inside the house is unplugged from outlets prior to turning power back on so there is no surge into the appliance.
With the stormy weather on its way, it’s never too early to be prepared. Also make sure your disaster kit is up to date and fully stocked. Here are a few more tips to get ready for the weather heading to the area:
- Tree damage is typically greater earlier in the fall season than later in the winter. Be prepared for tree damage and power outages when high winds are present.
- Fill vehiclew with fuel and have plenty of fuel to operate generators.
- Make sure to have enough supplies including water, food, flashlights, warm clothing, blankets, a battery-operated radio, extra batteries, medications, food/water for pets, and any personal care items
- Contact family members and advise them to take precautions and have an emergency communications plan
- Check on neighbors who are elderly or disabled before and after the windstorm to make sure they are prepared and haven’t been hurt
- Before the winds get too strong, take a few moments to secure any items that may blow away or become damaged by the winds
- If the winds are severe, please take shelter in your home and don’t forget about pets! Please stay off the roads if at all possible.
- Do not, under any circumstances, go near downed power lines. Be aware that the ground near downed power lines may also be electrified.
- Do not, use outdoor cooking equipment (BBQs) inside the home and do not leave children and/or pets unattended with propane heaters, candles, or other open flames.
- Only call 9-1-1 to report a life threatening emergency.