Shutting Off Utilities

Shutting Off Gas

Propane and Natural gas have a sulphur (rotten egg) odour added to them for detection. If leaked outdoors,
gas tends to dissipate into the atmosphere. If leaked in a confined space, such as inside your home, it mixes with air and can cause a fire if ignited.

If you think gas has leaked indoors:

  • Open doors and windows.
  • Do not smoke, light matches or operate electrical switches.
  • Leave the premises.
  • Turn off your outdoor gas valve ONLY IF YOU ACTUALLY SMELL GAS. For natural gas meters, keep a dedicated wrench (12 to 16 inches long) in an easily accessible and safe location known to all family members. (See illustration at right.) For propane tanks, simply turn the round, tap-like valve to the right to close. Some might instead have a lever-type valve to move a quarter-turn.

  • Go to a nearby phone (outside of the gas leak area) and call your gas company or 9-1-1.

  • DO NOT turn gas back on until the system is checked by a qualified technician.

If there is a strong smell of gas, if you hear the flow of escaping gas, or if gas is leaking from a broken or disconnected gas pipe:

  • Leave the premises.
  • Go to a nearby phone and call 9-1-1.

Shutting Off Electricity

  • If power is disrupted during a disaster, turning off the main circuit breaker will also lessen the possibility of fire damage if no one is home when the power is restored.
  • Locate the electricity circuit box.
  • Turn the power off by flipping the individual circuits to the off position or unscrewing the fuses and finally flip the main breaker to the off position.
  • When power is restored, turn circuits on as needed or as power comes back on.

7 Steps to Electrical Safety

  1. Ten Metres to Safety: Stay back at least 10 metres (33 feet) from any fallen power line or exposed
    underground cable.
  2. Look up and live: Look up, check and keep equipment clear of overhead power lines.
  3. Know your limits: When using equipment in the vicinity of power lines, always maintain the limits of approach: from 3-7 metres (10-20 feet) depending on the voltage.
  4. Don’t hang around operating heavy equipment: Stay at least 10 metres (33 feet) from operating backhoes, etc., in case they contact an energized line.
  5. Shuffle or hop – Don’t Step: If your vehicle makes contact with an energized line remain inside until help arrives. If you must get out due to fire, jump out with your feet together without touching the vehicle. Then shuffle away, keeping both feet close together and shuffling them along the ground.
  6. Call before you dig: Avoid contacting underground power lines – before you dig, call Hydro One at: 1-800-434-1235.
  7. Don’t become a victim: Always call 9-1-1 when someone is injured in an electrical accident.

If Someone Receives an Electrical Shock

  • Do not touch the person if she or he is still in contact with the source of electricity. (The electricity will travel from their body into yours!)
  • If there is a downed power line, keep people at least 10 metres (33 feet) away.
  • Ask someone to call 9-1-1 and Hydro One while you stay with the victim.
  • Once it is safe to do so, if the victim has no pulse, perform CPR.
  • If the victim has been burned, avoid touching those areas or any burned clothing. You may gently apply cold
    water to burned areas until professional help arrives.

Shutting Off Water

Water can very quickly become a precious and rare commodity following a major emergency and it can also
cause extreme damage. It is important that all family members learn how to shut off the water to both preserve water and to prevent water damage to your house if the pipes are broken during an event.

  • Locate the main water shut-off valve: at the well pressure tank or a line coming into the house.
  • Make sure this valve can be completely shut off.
  • Valves that have not been turned recently may be rusted open. Or they may only partially close. Replace this valve if necessary.
  • Label this valve with a large tag and make sure that all family members know where it is located.

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