Know how to turn off the utilities
Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires following disasters. It is vital that all household members know how to shut off natural gas.
Because there are different gas shut-off procedures for different gas meter configurations, it is important to contact your local gas company for guidance on preparation and response regarding gas appliances and gas service to your home.
When you learn the proper shut-off procedure for your meter, share the information with everyone in your household. Be sure not to actually turn off the gas when practicing the proper gas shut-off procedure.
!If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out quickly. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighborâ€™s home.
! CAUTION - If you turn off the gas for any reason, a qualified professional must turn it back on. NEVER attempt to turn the gas back on yourself.
Water quickly becomes a precious resource following many disasters. It is vital that all household members learn how to shut off the water at the main house valve.
o Cracked lines may pollute the water supply to your house. It is wise to shut off your Preparing to Shut Off Water
water until you hear from authorities that it is safe for drinking.
o The effects of gravity may drain the water in your hot water heater and toilet tanks unless
you trap it in your house by shutting off the main house valve (not the street valve in the
cement box at the curbâ€”this valve is extremely difficult to turn and requires a special
o Locate the shut-off valve for the water line that enters your house. Electricity
o Make sure this valve can be completely shut off. Your valve may be rusted open, or it may
only partially close. Replace it if necessary.
oLabel this valve with a tag for easy identification, and make sure all household members
know where it is located.
o First shut the water off to the entire house. Can be done at a valve near the meter
(probably near street) or there should be a valve just before water enters your home.
o Find the lowest AND highest point in your water pipes where there are valves. Open the
highest one. This will bleed off any pressure that remained in the line after you shut off
the entire house.
o Then, open the lowest valve and HOPEFULLY most of the water in between will drain out. . .
This won't be completely drained because of elbows (90 & 45's) that may be higher /
o Then if you are really ambitious, force air into the "highest" valve to push remain water out.
o Then, again if you even more ambitious, use a wet / dry shop vac and suck the air /
water out of the "lowest" valve.
o Then, open and close ALL the valves in the house to get anything that was in a "riser" that
didn't get drained.
o Make sure you do both hot and cold water lines.
o Also make sure you empty the water heater.
o Also the hose faucets outside your house. . .
o If your city water system is down, remember do not drink the water for 72 hours.
Electrical sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas if it is leaking. It is wise to teach all responsible household members where and how to shut off the electricity.Preparing to Shut Off Electricity
oLocate your electricity circuit box.
FOR YOUR SAFETY: Always shut off all the individual circuits before shutting off the main circuit breaker.
oTeach all responsible household members how to shut off the electricity to the entire house.