Skip to content

Utility Shutoff and Safety

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Preparedness
  4. /
  5. Utility Shutoff and Safety

In the event of a disaster, you may be instructed to shut off the utility service at your home.

Below is some general guidance for shutting off utility service. You should modify the information provided to reflect your shut off requirements as directed by your utility company.

Natural Gas

Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires following
disasters. It is vital that all household members know how 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 guidance on preparation and response regarding gas appliances and gas service to your home. When you learn the proper shut-off procedure for your meter, share the information with everyone in your household. Be sure not to actually turn off the gas when practicing the proper gas shut-off procedure. 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 a neighbor’s home.

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.


Electrical sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas if it is leaking. It is wise to
teach all responsible household members where and how to shut off the electricity.

To Shut off Electricity

  • Locate your circuit box.
  • ALWAYS shut off all individual circuits before shutting off the main circuit breaker.


Water quickly becomes a precious resource following many disasters. It is vital that all household
members learn how to shut off the water at the main house valve.

To Shut off Water

  • Locate the shut-off valve for the water line that enters your house.
  • Make sure this valve can be completely shut off. Your valve may be rusted open, or it may only partially close. Replace it if necessary.
  • Label this valve with a tag for easy identification, and make sure all household members know where it is located.

Additional Resources