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Time for another quick 10 min preparedness project! Remember, you can find all the 10 min preparedness project here.
Today’s project is something that many home owners think they know how to do. But you may not be quite as confident in an emergency situation, so it is important to practice now. Can you (and your spouse and older children) turn off all your home’s utilities?
During a natural disaster, wires and fixtures etc may separate in your home causing a fire hazard. If this happens, you need to turn off the electricity asap.
1. Do you know where your main electrical panel is? Find out. It is usually inside near your meter.
2. To turn off electricity, switch all circuit breaker switches into the off position. Start with individual circuits, then the main circuits.
3. Unplug all your electrical equipment to avoid a power surge when power is restored.
4. Grab your power out supplies and put them to good use!
IMPORTANT: If you must stand in water to get to your breaker, don’t do it. Call an electrician.
Ruptured pipes are not fun. They can cause flooding and lots of dollars in water damage to your home. If you suspect a broken pipe (from an earthquake or freezing weather), you need to turn your water off asap.
1. Do you know where your main shut off valve is? Does your spouse? Older children? There is one outside at your water meter, but there is also (likely) one inside too. Check crawl spaces, basements or the garage where the water line enters the house. It may also be near your water heater or washer hookup.
2. Turn it off. PRACTICE now!
3. If it isn’t already well labeled, add a label with arrows showing which way is off and which is on.
4. Get your stored water supplies out and put them to good use!
A natural gas leak can be extremely dangerous. If you smell gas or hear a leak after an earthquake or other diasaster, open a window and then LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Don’t use your cell phone, land line, anything with a battery, matches, lighters, electrical switches etc. Just get your family out, shut off your gas and then LEAVE yourself. Call 911 asap (but not until you’ve left your home).
If you don’t smell or hear gas leaking, but have just been through an earthquake, you should still shut off your gas until you are certain there are no leaks.
To shut off your gas:
1. Do you now where the shut-off valve is? Find it and make sure every adult / teenager in your home knows where it is as well. The main shut off valve is outside and near your gas meter.
2. Use a gas shutoff tool or wrench (keep one right near the valve) to turn the rectangular know clockwise (about 1/4 turn) to the horizontal position.
3. If you smell or hear gas, LEAVE and call 911 asap (but not until after you’ve left your home)
If you have a newer home, there is also likely a valve inside your house (usually a ball valve). It is often in your utility room near your furnace or water heater. The house-side valve will only turn off the gas inside your home, not the gas from the street TO your home. This article has some great pictures that should help you locate your valve.
That’s it! Take 10 minutes today to find these three utility shuts offs and make sure you and all adults and teenagers in your home know how to turn them off! Easy Peasy!
Lack of Time
I’ve found that there are lots of reasons that keep people from becoming better prepared or more self reliant. But as a young mom one of the top reasons is time, or rather a lack of time.
But really, I don’t think us young moms are alone….
I think that many, if not most, in our fast paced society feel that time slips through their fingers regularly. And when feeling rushed and anxious, it can be difficult to invest time in becoming more prepared and self reliant.
10 Minute Preparedness Projects!
But very one of us can find 10 minutes, right? Every 10 days or so, I challenge myself to spend 10 minutes on preparedness and self-reliance and I invite you to join me! Simple, right?
You can see all the 10 minutes preparedness projects here: