As many have experienced power outage, most would agree that it can be more terrifying than what they thought – especially for long periods of a time. After a disaster where utilities have been disrupted, there may be a need to turn off certain utilities in order to control additional damage from the disaster. This usually involves turning off one or more of the following: natural gas, water and electricity.
Emergency service providers and utility employees will be overwhelmed following the disaster so it’s important that your family and your neighbors know how and where to control the utilities. Pre-planning and fast actions can save both lives and property.
Shutting Off Water
- Water quickly becomes a precious resource when a disaster occurs. It’s important that all household members learn how to shut off the water at the main house valve.
- Before a disaster occurs, locate the valve for the water line that enters your house and shut it off. Label this valve for easy identification and make sure all household members know where it is located. You should also make sure the valve can be completed shut off – sometimes it can be rusted open or may only partially close and if so, you should replace it.
- Cracked lines may pollute the water supply to your house. It is wise to shut off water until you hear from authorities that it is safe for drinking.
Shut off Electricity
- Electrical sparks could ignite natural gas if it is leaking, and they could also cause other flammable materials to catch on fire. It is wise to teach all household members how to shut off the electricity.
- Locate your electrical circuit box and shut off all individual circuits before shut off the main circuit. If your house has fuses instead of circuit breakers, keep extra fuses on hand in case one blows during an emergency. Never replace a fuse with one of higher amperage.
- To know exactly what switches cut power to which areas, it’s important to label your circuit breaker or fuse box properly.
Shutting Off Natural Gas
- Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires during and after disasters. It is vital that all household members know how to shut off natural gas. Gas meters can usually be found on the side of the house.
- Contact your local gas company for any guidance on preparations and response regarding gas appliances and gas service to your home because there are different gas shut-off procedures for different gas meter configurations.
- 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 neighbor’s home.
If you would like more information on developing a family emergency plan or building a disaster supply kit, please contact us at 806-763-7311 or www.shropshireinsurance.com to chat with online! The Shropshire Agency is committed to helping you and your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes.