The ability to locate and operate utility shutoffs will increase safety and reduce property damage in a disaster situation.

Natural Gas

  • Natural gas leaks can cause an explosive and flammable atmosphere inside a building.

  • The main shutoff valve is next to the main gas meter, usually located on the exterior of your home or building.

  • If you smell gas, shut off the main valve and open all windows and doors.

  • Only turn off the gas if you smell a leak. Another indicator of a leak is if the unmarked wheels on the gas meter are spinning.

  • Never use candles or matches. Do not turn on electrical switches or appliances.

  • To turn gas off, turn the lever 1/4 turn; when lever crosses the direction of the pipe (across the flow) the gas is off.

  • Keep a crescent wrench or gas shut-off tool nearby to turn the lever.

  • Once you turn off the gas it may take several days for it to be turned back on.


Electricity can be deadly. Electrocution can result from direct contact with live wires or anything that has been energized by these wires.
Know where your home’s main electric switch is. It may be a pull handle or very large circuit breakers inside the panel box.

Shut off electricity when:

  • Arcing or burning occurs in electrical devices
  • You smell the distinct odor of burning insulation
  • The area around switches or plugs is blackened and/or hot to the touch
  • The complete loss of power is accompanied by the smell of burning material.

Water not only creates property damage, but it can also cause electrocution if electrical wires energize it. An inside water shutoff is usually located in the basement, garage, or alley. The inside water shutoff is located on a riser pipe and is usually a red or yellow wheel. In either case, to shut off the water, turn wheel clockwise until off. Shut off the water when there is a severe leak inside the building.