Tips from Local Plumbers--Emergency Water Shut-off Drills

Tips from Local Plumbers--Emergency Water Shut-off Drills

When an emergency occurs, do you and those in your household know how to shut off the water? Do you know where the valves are located? To prepare for an emergency, whether large or small, local plumbers recommend teaching everyone in your household where the shut-off valves are located and having emergency drills to shut off the water.

Locate the Valves

There are three different locations for water shut-off valves. These include the following:

  • Valves located at each plumbing device
  • Valves that shut off all the water to the house
  • Valves that shut off the water at the street

Device Specific Valves

Many plumbing devices, such as the toilet, washing machine, and water heater, come with shut-off valves. These valves allow you to stop the flow of water to that specific device while still leaving the water turned on in the building. Check your owner's manuals for details.

House Shut-off Valves

Many homes are equipped with a valve that will turn off the water to the entire building. These valves are located near the spot where the main line enters the house.

Main Line Shut-off Valves

The main valve to shut off the water is located near the edge of the property line. This valve connects the city's water to the building's water. It is usually encased in a box that is underground and covered by a metal plate. It requires a shut-off key to turn the valve.

Emergency Review and Drills

It is important to teach everyone what to do in an emergency. Hold a family meeting every year to review and practice emergency procedures such as the following:

  • How to evacuate the house
  • Where to meet once you have left house
  • How to turn off the water
  • How to turn off the gas
  • How to turn off the electricity

Practice makes perfect. Once you have reviewed the procedures, conduct role plays that allow every member of the household to respond to different emergency situations.

Keep the Valves in Good Working Condition

Even if everyone knows where the valves are and how to turn them off, it doesn't do a bit of good if the valves are stuck. Once a year, turn all the valves in your house on and off, including the main water shut-off valve that is located near the property line. Make sure the valves turn easily. Check to ensure that the water turns off and on completely. If you find problems, the valves should be repaired immediately.

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