Disaster Ready People 12 Month Guide – You and Your Utilities

In an emergency you might need to turn off your own water, electricity, gas and home security system. Make sure everyone old enough to shut off access to these utilities knows how to do so. If you need assistance in identifying the valve to turn off your water, search the web to watch helpful videos or go to the Hot Links section of the “Evaluate” tab of our website.

Water main — Turn off your water main if pipes in your home develop a leak. If you live in a house, the water main is usually at the street. If you live in a condominium or apartment, ask the manager to show you how to turn off the water to your unit.

Electricity — Electrical sparks and gas don’t mix; they could cause an explosion if in close proximity to one another. The main electrical switch is usually in a metal-encased breaker box. This box may be in the garage, a closet or against an outside wall near the electrical meter.

Gas — The gas shut-off valve is located where the gas supply comes directly into your property.

Home Security System —Learn how to manually disengage your home alarm system in case a power failure causes an ear canal-bursting siren that refuses to be muted. Ask your security system technician to give you a quick tutorial when they make their annual inspection to ensure all contacts are in good working order.

FYI – Security firms require that you supply them with the names and telephone numbers of trusted friends or neighbors so they can be notified when you can’t be reached. Some localities are now charging $50 – 100 fines for each false alarm over two per year because officers are required to respond if they cannot be waived-off.

For additional security, use the “buddy system” with a nearby trustworthy neighbor so you can be on the lookout for one another. Keep each other advised of plans to be away so questionable activity can be reported.

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