Eddy County Emergency Management

UTILITIES

ELECTRIC 

  • Be sure everyone in the house knows where the main electric switch is (at the Circuit Breaker Box/Panel).  This box/panel usually has a pull handle or a flip switch that will turn of all electricity to the house.
  • You can be electrocuted from both direct contact with live wires or anything that is touching live wires or is energized by them.

TURN OFF YOUR ELECTRICITY WHEN:

  • There is a fire (only if it is safe to do so), large water leak or flood.
  • You smell insulation burning.
  • You see arcing or burning in electrical devices.
  • The area around outlets or light switches is blackened or hot to the touch.
  • There is a power loss along with the smell of burning material.

WATER

  • Make sure everyone knows where the shutoff valve is located and how to turn the water off. It is usually found where the main water pipe enters the house or at the water meter. In warmer climates (such as Eddy County), the water meter is outside in the yard.  In colder climates, it is usually inside the house, in the basement.  Some shutoff valves are simple twist handles but most require you to use a wrench or special tool to turn off. 
  • If you have well water:  Be sure to turn off the electricity to the well before attempting to shut off the water.
  • If you have any questions regarding how to turn off your water, contact your municipal water authority.

SEWER

  • If there is damage to the water lines (or you believe there could be damage), DO NOT FLUSH THE TOILET. Turn off the water to the house so contaminated water doesn't get into the system.
  • If there is no water in the toilet and sewer lines are not broken, you can pour several gallons (3 to 5 gallons, using the smallest amount that will do the job) of water into the toilet bowl to flush it.  You can use water from your pool, a lake/stream/pond, bathtub; but DO NOT USE WATER THAT CAN BE USED FOR DRINKING.
  • If sewer lines are broken DO NOT TRY TO FLUSH THE TOILET (even if there is water in the bowl and tank). 
  • You can line the toilet bowl with garbage bags (two layers is good) to collect waste.  Add a little bit of bleach (if you have plenty) to the waste, then seal the bag as tightly as you can and place in a covered container, away from people.  You can also do the same thing with a sturdy bucket (if you have no toilet or it is unusable).  Line it with garbage bags and follow the directions above.

GAS

  • Know where the main shutoff valve is located.  It will be on the gas line coming into the main gas meter.  The gas meter/main will almost always be outside your house (on the side or in the back) and can sometimes be in a small nook or closet on the outside of your home. 
  • You will need an adjustable or crescent wrench to turn the valve.  Turn the valve 1/4 (one quarter) turn in either direction.  The valve is closed when the tang (part you turned with the wrench) is crosswise to the pipe. 
  • Turn off gas and open doors and windows when you smell gas, see a broken gas line or hear gas escaping.
  • Do not use matches, lighters, candles or smoke if you suspect a leak.  It is best not to turn on any appliances or use electrical switches, either.
  • If you do decide to turn off the gas, DO NOT TURN IT BACK ON.  You will need to wait for your gas/utility company to do this and in the case of a disaster, it could take several days for them to get to your house.