Do It Yourself Safety -- Shut It Off!! - April 8th 2002
The home is served by a number of wondrous modern conveniences that most people take for granted.
Water is delivered not by pumping a well and lugging buckets up a hill as was common some years ago but rather by simply activating a faucet, which delivers hot and cold water. The water is heated by gas, oil or electricity. These fuels (although electricity is not strictly speaking a fuel) also heat your home in the cold weather and electricity may also heat the blanket under which you sleep. It also lights your home, toasts your bread, enriches your life with media and cooks the food you eat (unless you use gas). Itís hard to picture modern living without these services but sometimes it may be necessary to turn them off in a hurry when some calamity strikes. Donít wait until then to find out just where the shut-off points are.
Water enters the house from a municipal water system or from a private well. In either case there should be a main shut off valve near the point of entry. If you have metered water this valve will be in the line before it passes through the meter. Look for it, label it and make sure that all family members are acquainted with its location.
If you use bottled gas there will be shut off valves at the top of the containers. If the gas is piped in the shut off valve should be close to the meter. This is usually a valve with a lever or one that is turned on and off by means of wrench. In the latter case make sure that a wrench of the proper size is kept near the valve. Again make sure all family members know where this valve is and how to operate it.
Electricity is routed into the various house circuits through a fuse box or a circuit breaker box. It is a simple matter to shut down the entire system.
With a circuit breaker control system the main shut off breakers are usually located at the op or at the centre of the box. These are usually double switches. To shut down the system simply throw these switches.
With a fuse box remove the main fuse drawers.. Older types of fuse boxes may have outside levers or handles that serve the same purpose.