How to Shut Off Gas, Water, and Electricity
If you are at home during a natural disaster and your home is or may be affected, knowing how to turn off your utilities will prevent any further damage from happening to your home.
Typically, it is not advised to shut off your gas even after a disaster. However, if you smell, hear, or suspect that gas is escaping, turn off your gas service at the meter. Follow these steps in the event you need to turn off your gas:
1. Locate your main gas shutoff valve. Most of the time, it is the first valve on the pipe coming out of the ground next to the meter. The valve is typically found around the outside of a home.
2. Using a wrench, turn the lever in either direction until it is horizontal to the pipe.
3. Leave the gas off once it has been turned off. DO NOT attempt to turn it back on yourself.
4. After the emergency, call your local gas company to have them safely turn the gas services back on.
If a natural disaster causes your water pipes to burst, you could end up with more damage on your hands that could’ve been prevented. Knowing where your water shutoff valve is in your home and turning it off during emergencies will minimalize future repairs. Follow these steps to turn off your water:
1. Locate your main water shutoff valve. Depending on your house, the valve can be found in different locations. Check utility areas such as the garage, laundry room, basement, or exterior walls around the house. If you cannot find your valve in or around your house, it may be located in a buried access panel in the ground near your street.
2. Once located, turn the valve clockwise until you can’t turn it any longer.
3. Attempt to run water in your house to check if the water has been turned off.
4. After the emergency is over and it is safe, you may turn the water back on yourself.
Disasters such as floods, severe storms, and hurricanes may cause for you to turn off the electricity in your house until it is safe. If your house is already flooded or suffering water damage, do NOT attempt to turn off your electricity if you think the circuit breaker or electrical appliances have already been damaged as the water will cause electrocution. Follow these steps to turn off the electricity in your home:
1. Locate your circuit breaker. The circuit breaker can usually be found in the basement, utility room, or garage. Depending on the age of your house, it may be found around the outside of your house in a large box.
2. Once found, the main handle for the circuit breaker is found inside the main panel at the top. Do NOT touch any exposed wires or bare metal inside of the breaker panel. Flip the main switch from ON to OFF. This will shut off all of the electricity inside your home.
3. After the emergency has passed and the inside of your home is safe, you may, turn the electricity back on yourself.