There are a few things to consider in preparing for natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, freezing temperatures, etc.
~Where is the gas shut-off?
The first thing to do after a natural disaster is to SHUT OFF THE GAS! This is something you and all members of the residence need to learn how to do before it's too late. Disasters, such as earthquakes, can cause gas lines to break and leak. This poses a fire threat if it isn't shut off quickly. Contact a local professional to check your system before turning it back on.
To shut off the gas: Turn the valve clockwise until the holes line up.
~Where is the water main shut-off?
If you are facing a water emergency (i.e. leaking pipes, frozen water lines, water heater failure, etc.) You'll need to know where and how to shut off the water main. Most homes have a shut-off inside of the home but some older homes only have a water meter, near the street, to shut off the water supply. Make sure you and your family know how to turn off the water supply in any emergency. This will help prevent a flooded home while you wait for the plumber to arrive.
Turn the valve clockwise to shut the water off.
~Is the water heater strapped properly?
Code requires a water heater to be strapped with approved straps on the top and bottom thirds of the water heater. This is to help prevent the water heater from tipping or breaking away during an earthquake which could cause the water and gas lines to break leading to extensive property damage or loss of life.
PREVENTION IS KEY!
It is easy to feel like there isn't money to take certain precautions but it is certainly cheaper to prevent damage than it is to repair it. Take some time and spend a little money to be prepared. It'll give you peace of mind and it may pay off someday.
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