Emergency Procedures For Utility Failures

What do you do when the power suddenly goes out? Whom should you call if you smell a natural gas leak? During power outages or other utility failures, you suddenly have a lot of things on your mind and a lot of questions to answer. In some cases, a utility failure is something that happens only to your home, and in other cases it can hit entire neighborhoods. Regardless of the scope of the failure, the emergency procedures that you and your family should follow are the same. Does this Spark an idea?


If your electricity goes out, don’t panic. Always have a flashlight with fresh batteries on hand in case the power goes out at night. Look out your window to see if it is a neighborhood problem or just a problem in your house. If you see a power line down, call the power company immediately. You should also call the police so they can keep motorists and others away from danger. If the outage affects just your house, check the fuses or the breaker box to see if the problem is there. Before restoring power, or before power is restored in your neighborhood, unplug your larger appliances to avoid damage from a power surge as service is restored. To help preserve the food in your refrigerator, don’t open it until the power is back on.

Natural Gas

If you smell a natural gas leak, extinguish all open flames. If you have a gas stove, check to see if a burner or the oven was left on. If the stove is on, turn it off and open windows in the house to allow the gas to dissipate. If you can’t find the source of the gas leak, turn off the gas to your home, using the main gas shutoff valve. If you aren’t sure do this, evacuate all people and pets from the house and call the gas company.

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A sudden, drastic drop in the water pressure in your home may be caused by a burst water pipe. Turn off the water to your home, using the main water shutoff valve. It is important to know where the valve is in case of an emergency. If you are experiencing a major water leak, it is a good safety measure to shut off the electrical power to the house as well, to avoid a fire.