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utility shut-off safety emergency preparedness

...part of the extended info series on How to prepare your Personal Emergency Plan  | this page is also accessed by bit.ly/safeSHUTOFF

Utility Shut-Off for Emergency Preparedness 

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It is vital that you know how to shut off your utilities in case of a major incident, an emergency or a disaster. Gas leaks can spark explosions, often lead to significant fires. Damage to water pipes can lead to flooding. Water and electricity do not mix and pose a significant hazard.  
 

1. ASSESS 

  • know the main access points of ALL your utilities and the contact numbers of your service providers
  • know the emergency numbers: powercut 105; smell gas 0800 111 999; report a flood;  

2. PREPARE 

Gas shut-off and safety

Different gas meters have different shut-off procedures and appliances such as gas hobs and boilers are different too. That's why it's important that you contact your local provider and see manufacturer's guidance to find out about the right preparedness and response.
Once you know the correct shut-off procedures, share this information with all responsible persons in your houshold. If possible, also inform your neighbor as an important contengency in case no one is at your home when an incident occurs.

DO NOT actually turn off the gas when practising emergency preparedness and shut-off procedures.
If you turn off the gas for any reason, a qualified professional must turn it back on. NEVER attempt to turn the gas back on yourself for safety reasons.

Water shut-off and safety

Find the the shut-off valve for the water line that enters your home. Label the valve with a clearly visible tag for easy identification and make sure everyone in your household knows the location.
Assure that the valve is rust free and can be completely shut off. If not, replace it.
In an emergency or if you hear of a boil water order, shut off your water until you are informed from the authorities that it is safe for drinking.  

Note: during area wide water shut-off, the effects of gravity may drain the water in your hot water system and toilets unless you trap it in your house by shutting off the main valve.

Electricity shut-off and safety

Electricity and water, electricity and gas do not mix! Know where your main circuits and electrical circuit boxes are. Shuff off individual circuits before shutting off the main. Teach all responsible household members how to do this. 



3. STAY SAFE
  • use the correct procedures and shut down your utilities in an emergency, locate your emergency kits inc an ATEX approved torch 
  • follow instructions from the authorities and stay informed. Shelter-in-place or evacuate depending on guidance. 
  • if you smell gas or notice blowing or hissing noises, open a window immediately and evacuate the premises. Turn off the gas from the outside main valve if it is safe to do so. Call the gas company from your mobile phone at a safe distance. 

4. RECOVER 



Select resources:
HSE Domestic Gas; Carbon Monoxide awareness; HSE Electrical Safety; Think Safe for kids
Resilience blog Preparedness for Power Cuts, Brownouts and Blackouts

 

Gas Meter | source wikipedia: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Gas_meter.JPGgas meter
Water walves | source Wikipedia https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Water_valves_with_spigots.jpgpotentially problematic water valves
electrcity mains | source wikipedia https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Electricity_meters_in_India.JPGelectricity meters

 

Northern Ireland Water: How to find and turn off your stop walve 

 
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