Utility Emergency Preparedness


  • Natural gas leaks can cause an explosive and flammable atmosphere inside a building.
  • Natural gas leaks can cause fires and explosions inside a building.
  • If you smell gas, hear gas escaping, see a broken gas line, or if you suspect a leak, shut off the main valve and open all windows and doors.
  • Never use candles, matches or any other open flame source if you suspect a leak.
  • Do not turn on electrical switches or appliances.
  • Electrocution can result from direct contact with live wires or anything that has been energized by these wires.
  • Locate your main electric switch, which is normally in the garage or outdoors. The panel box may have a flip switch or pull handle on a large circuit breaker.
  • Shut off electricity if safe to do so when:
    • Arcing or burning occurs in electrical devices, then dial 9-1-1.
    • There is a fire or significant water leak, then dial 911.You smell burning insulation, then dial 911.
    • The area around switches or plugs is blackened and / or hot to the touch, then dial 9-1-1.
    • A complete power loss is accompanied by the smell of burning material, then dial 9-1-1.
    • To notify Dominion Virginia Power of a power interruption/outage, call 888-667-3000.


  • Water leaks can cause property damage and create an electrocution hazard.
  • If you experience a water pipe failure, shut off your water supply to protect the water in your house. Cracked pipes may allow contaminants into the water supply in your home. This will also help to minimize water damage to your home.
  • The water shutoff is usually located in the basement, garage or where the water line enters the home, or near a hot water heater. The water shutoff is located on a riser pipe and is usually a red and/or blue wheel. Turn wheel clockwise to shut off. If you are unable to locate the water shut-off inside your home, you may be able to shut the water off at your water meter.

Sewer Service

  • A disaster that disrupts all or part of the water and/or sewer system could affect the way you deal with human waste.
  • If there is no water in your toilet, but the sewer lines are intact, pour 3 to 5 gallons of water into the toilet bowl to flush. You may use seawater, bath, laundry or pool water.
  • If you suspect damage to your home's water lines, do not flush the toilet. Turn off the water at the house so contaminated water does not enter your water system.