Utility Failure


Following a disaster, check for damaged wiring within your home and follow these tips:

  • Look for sparks or the smell of hot or burning insulation.
  • If damaged, shut off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box.
  • Outside, consider all downed power lines as live.
  • Do not touch downed lines or attempt to move any object in contact with them.
  • Report any broken or damaged lines or poles.

Natural Gas

If an emergency occurs and you do not smell or hear escaping gas, you probably do not need to shut off your gas. Doing so may deprive you of service unnecessarily. If you do smell gas turn off the meter as follows:

  • Locate the meter shut-off valve on the gas supply pipe.
  • Use a wrench to turn the valve 1/4 turn so that the lever is cross-wise to the pipe.
  • Once the gas is off, leave it off until a technician can turn it on.


After a disaster water supplies may be cut off or contaminated. Water sources in the home that may be used for drinking include:

  • Hot Water Tank - Turn off the power that heats the tank and let it cool. Place a container below tank and open the drain valve.
  • Water Pipes - Release air pressure by turning on the highest faucet in the home. Then drain the water from the lowest faucet.