Following an earthquake or other major disasters, it is important to know how and when to turn off major utilities, such as gas, water and electricity.
It is extremely important to know when and how to turn off the gas. Fire is the second leading cause of destruction following an earthquake.
When do You Turn Off the Gas?
According to FortisBC, you should turn off the gas when you smell gas, hear the hissing sound of gas escaping or a gas appliance or water tank has broken loose from its connections or fallen over. You will recognize the smell of the gas because it has been treated to give it a distinctive “rotten egg” smell.
If you smell rotten eggs or hear the sound of escaping gas, go outside and call the FortisBC Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours) or 911.
Shut off the Main Gas Supply to Your Home
Shut off the main gas valve (normally located at your gas meter on the exterior of your home) using a wrench or other suitable tool, give the valve a quarter turn in either direction so that it is crosswise to the pipe. It is a good idea to designate a wrench just for the emergency shut-off of your gas so that you will know where to find it. Attach it directly to the meter or show everyone in the family where it is stored.
If your home is not in danger from fire or leaking gas consider leaving your gas supply turned on. It may be your only source of energy for some time. Only a FortisBC technician or licensed gas contractor can turn the gas back on safely. Call FortisBC or a Technical Safety BC licensed gas contractor to restore gas service at the meter.
After an earthquake, FortisBC recommends checking your appliances and utilities for damage. Check the vents, chimney and connections at each gas appliance to be sure they have not been dislodged or blocked. If your gas appliances or gas pipes have been damaged, do not use them until they have been thoroughly inspected by a licensed gas contractor. Visit FortisBC for more information.
Water Services provides emergency service response 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Emergency response is an important function in maintaining a pressurized water system, avoiding or minimizing the amount of damage to property, both private and public. Please call our 24 Hour City Emergency Line at 604-270-8721 in the case of an emergency such as broken water mains and sewer problems.
Teach all responsible family members where and how to shut off the electricity.
First assess the extent of the power outage. If the outage appears to be limited to your home, check your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. Check BC Hydro to see if the outage has been reported.
For information on electrical safety during earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and wildfires, visit BC Hydro.
Downed Power Lines
If you see a downed power line call BC Hydro with the exact location as soon as you can. Keep back 10 metres (33 feet) from wires or anything in contact with them and warn others of the danger. Always assume that the lines are energized. For more information on downed power lines visit BC Hydro.