Utility Shut Off Advice for Natural Disasters

Everyone must prepare for natural disasters such as flooding from rainstorms or earthquakes. In addition to having emergency supplies in the home including food and clean water, you need to know how to turn off utilities. During an emergency, water pipes and utility lines can burst creating a danger for people. Utility valves that a homeowner must locate include water, gas and electricity. Individuals should make a map of the home showing utility valves, emergency exits and other information to assist occupants during a disaster.

Gas Valves

If a homeowner is unable to understand where shutoff valves are located, calling utility companies for assistance is a good plan. Utility valves are often painted a bright color to make the object easier to locate. Gas lines are particularly dangerous for nonprofessionals to deal with in emergencies. If there is a hissing sound or odor near the area, it is better to leave to avoid injuries from an explosion or fire. A gas utility company will often have a sign near the valve explaining how to turn it properly. A tool such as a wrench is often necessary to turn the valve. After the disaster is over, do not turn a gas valve back on. Instead, contact the utility company for professional service.

Additional Valves

Electrical power controls are located in a circuit box in various locations in a home including basements, cellars or closets. During a disaster with flooding or gas leaks, electricity has additional dangers. Moisture and electricity combined leads to danger from electrocution that typically is fatal for humans and animals. After locating the circuit box, find the main switch to flip it to an off position. Never go near an electrical circuit box that has sparks or moisture. Turning off your home’s water valve can prevent individual’s drinking contaminated water. This brightly colored valve is located in closets near a water heater or outside near a building’s foundation.



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