Turning Off Utilities


Turn off the electricity by flipping the breakers to off. Start with the individual breakers and then throw the main breaker.

Breaker positions should be labeled "on" and "off". If yours are not labeled, use a marker and label them yourself.

Some houses have two breaker boxes, one outside and one inside. If you are evacuating, turn off all the inside breakers first and then throw the outside breakers. If your house is already damaged, turn off the outside breakers before you enter the house.

When returning after a disaster, check your house for damage and flooding and see if there is power in your neighborhood. When it is safe, turn the power back on in reverse order, outside breakers first, then inside main breakers, then individual breakers.

If you have fuses instead of breakers, your electrical system is old and should be checked by an electrician. You may want to have a main breaker installed even if you leave fuses on the individual circuits.









Generally you will need a wrench to turn off the gas to your house. On a standard meter, you make one quarter turn clockwise or to the right.

When evacuating, only turn off the gas if you are told to do so by the authorities.

If your house is damaged, turn off the gas if you smell gas coming from the house or hear the hissing of gas escaping in the house. Even with the gas turned off; do not go into a house that had a gas leak. There is still the danger of explosion from pockets of trapped gas.

Once the gas is turned off, it is not safe to turn it back on until the lines have been checked for leaks and the ability to hold pressure. This has to be done by a plumber or the gas company.



There are several places the main water shut-off may be found. Outside, look for the valve where the water line comes off the meter or where it comes out of the ground and enters the house. Inside, the shut-off may be in the basement or a utility room. Look where the water line enters the house or near the water heater.

The shut-off may have a faucet handle or a lever. Usually you turn the handle clockwise to shut off the water and counter-clockwise to turn it back on.

Practice shutting off the water. You won't hurt anything and it is good to know how to do this when a pipe breaks or a toilet overflows.

When the water has been off for more than a few hours, you should flush the pipes to clear them of dirty water when you turn it back on. Turn on all the faucets and let them run for a few minutes. Do one room at a time so you keep the water pressure up. Flush each toilet twice and don't forget the showers.

Right is Tight And Left is Loose