Shutting Off Utilities in an Emergency: How to Turn Off Natural Gas, Electricity, and Water

Utility meters

What would you do if there was a gas leak in your home? Or what if a pipe bursts and water is spurting everywhere? It’s important to be prepared for emergencies like these and natural disasters, which means knowing how to turn off your natural gas, electricity, and water. In this article, we will walk you through the exact steps necessary to shut off these utilities in an emergency safely and effectively. Stay safe and prepared!

Natural Gas

First, let’s talk about natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, there could be a gas leak. You and your family should evacuate your house immediately if there is a suspected gas leak.

If you suspect a gas leak, it is important to turn off the gas by doing the following:

  • Locate the main shut-off valve. This is usually located near the gas meter or where the main gas line enters your home.
  • Turn the shut-off valve to the “off” position. Be sure to turn it clockwise until it stops.

Once the valve is off, do not turn it back on yourself. You can call your local gas company or a qualified professional to do this for you. Only a professional should turn the gas back on.

Also, do not use any lighters, matches, or open flames until you’re certain there are no more gas leaks in your home.

Avoid turning on electrical switches, using the phone, or doing anything else that could create a spark and ignite gas.

Finally, different houses may have different gas meter configurations, so call your gas company if you’re unsure about anything.


Now, let’s move on to electricity. If there is flooding or severe weather, it’s possible that your power lines could be damaged. If you see sparks or flames or hear crackling or popping, it’s important to turn off your electricity immediately.

Shut off electricity by doing the following:

  • Locate your home’s electrical circuit box. This is usually located in the basement, utility room, or garage.
  • Find the switch that corresponds to the part of your house where you saw or heard the sparks or flames.
  • Flip the switch to the “off” position.
  • You can also turn off the main circuit to shut off all the electricity in the entire house. However, we suggest you turn off all the individual circuits before shutting off the main circuit breaker for your safety.
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You should teach all responsible household members where the circuit breaker box is located and how to turn off the power.


Last but not least, let’s talk about water. If you have a burst pipe or another type of water emergency, you’ll need to turn off your home’s water supply.

You can turn off your water by doing the following:

  • Locate your home’s main water shut-off valve. The main valve is usually located near the home’s water meter, by the water pipe leading to the water heater, or where the main water line enters your home. If your water comes from a ground well, the shut-off valves should be on either side of the pressure tank.
  • Turn the water valve to the “off” position. Be sure to turn the valve clockwise until it stops.

Helpful Tips

Be sure to test all your shut-off valves at least once a year to make sure they’re working properly.

Keep a crescent wrench handy in case you need to turn off the gas or water in an emergency.

Check your gas appliances and water pipes regularly for leaks.

Have the number for your utility company written down and stored in a safe place.

Write down the locations of all your shut-off valves for your home’s utilities and keep this information in a safe place, like your disaster preparedness kit, so you’ll be ready when an emergency strikes.


Overall, it’s important to know how to shut off utilities in emergency situations or even during a natural disaster. We hope this article has been helpful in walking you through the steps necessary to do so. Stay safe and prepared!

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