Shutting off Utilities
There should be in place at each place of business, a maintenance crew with designated staff persons with knowledge of each of the following utilities in regards to the Emergency Action Plan.
Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires following disasters. It is vital that designated persons know how or who to contact immediately to shut off natural gas.
Because there are different gas shut-off procedures for different gas meter configurations, it is important to contact your local gas company for any guidance on preparations and response regarding gas appliances and gas service to your building.
When you learn the proper shut-off procedure for your meter, share the information with designated emergency protocol members. Be sure not to actually turn off the gas when practicing the proper gas shut-off procedures.
If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out quickly. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve, if you can, and call the gas company from an alternate location.
Caution: 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.
Water quickly becomes a precious resource following many disasters. It is vital that designated members learn how to shut off the water at the main valve.
Before an emergency happens, locate the shut-off valve for the water line that enters your building and label this valve with a tag for easy identification. Make sure all designated members know where it is located.
Make sure this valve can be completely shut off. Your valve may be rusted open or it may only partially close. If so, replace it.
Cracked lines may pollute the water supply. It is wise to shut off your water until you hear from authorities that it is safe for drinking.
The effects of gravity may drain the water in your hot water heater and toilet tanks unless you trap it in your building by shutting off the main house valve. (This is not the street valve in the cement box at the curb – the street valve is extremely difficult to turn and requires a special tool.)
Electricity…Electrical sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas if it is leaking. It is wise to teach all designated members where and how to shut off the electricity.