It may seem like a simple task to some, but knowing how to shut off your utilities is an essential part of emergency planning that everyone should review. Emergencies from all sorts of sources can strike at any given moment, so you must be prepared in all aspects, one of them being utilities. Here is a list of different utilities and how they should be turned off, when given the need to be. Electricity: To turn off the electricity, you usually flip the main circuit breaker located inside the electrical panel. It is typically located on top as a pair. If you need to turn off the power to individual rooms or circuits, you simply shut off the branch circuit breakers which are located below the main pair. Home Tips does point out that the main circuit breaker being turned off does not usually turn off the wires that run to the electric meter, as those are always electrically charged and hot. When locating your main panel, make sure that all wires are concealed. If there is an exposed wire, do not touch it as it may electrocute you. Call an electrician for professional help in properly connecting your panel. Natural Gas: Since different homes have different gas meter configurations, the steps to turn natural gas off at each home may vary. According to PSE, if it is a non-emergency, you can turn off the gas valve by hand on individual appliances, which is usually located on the fuel line that enters the appliance. To turn off the gas service at the main meter, you must first locate the main gas service (“usually the first fitting on the natural gas supply pipe coming out of the ground next to the meter”). Using a wrench, turn the lever in either direction, until it is perpendicular to the pipe. It is important to note, that once you turn it off, you are NOT to turn it back on yourself. You must call your gas provider so that they can properly turn it back on and check the system. Water: Your water valve can be located in several different locations in your home, such as on the interior wall in your basement, near the hot water heater in your garage, or on the exterior of your house. Once you locate it, make sure you do not touch the pressure regulator above it, as only professionals should deal with that. When located, you can usually use your hand to turn it off, but some valves may require tools such as a wrench. If it is a gate valve, you turn it clockwise a few times, until it can’t be turned any further. If it is a ball valve, you turn the lever clockwise 90 degrees. If you cannot locate it in your home, it can be in a cement box buried in the ground near the front curb on your street, which may require a special meter key to access the box. If it is outside, you are not allowed to tamper with the city shut-off side since it is illegal and unsafe. For more information, click here.