Real Preparedness:  Understanding the Significance of Shutting Off Utilities

shutting off utilities

Emergencies can happen at any time, and being prepared can make all the difference in keeping you and your family safe. One crucial aspect of emergency preparedness is knowing how to turn off your home power, gas and electricity during an emergency. Turning off your home utilities can prevent further damage and keep you and your family safe.  It’s important that everyone of your family members who is capable, understand when and how to do turn off the utilities. 

Benefits of Turning Off Utilities in an Emergency

Shutting off water, gas and electricity during an emergency can prevent further damage to your home and keep you and your family safe. For example, turning off the water supply can prevent flooding in case of a burst pipe or a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood. Turning off the gas supply can prevent fires or explosions caused by gas leaks. Turning off the electricity supply can prevent electrocution or fires caused by electrical faults.

Shutting off utilities can also help emergency responders do their job more effectively. For example, if there is a fire in your home, turning off the gas supply can prevent the fire from spreading.

Knowing When to Shut Off Your Utilities

Knowing when to shut off your home’s utilities is crucial for emergency preparedness. There are several scenarios that may require shutting off utilities, such as natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, gas leaks, electrical faults, and burst pipes.

In an emergency situation, it is advisable to turn off the electricity to avoid any further complications from electrical hazards. Turning off the electricity does not always guarantee safety, but it does eliminate the likelihood that something else will happen, such as a fire breaking out or an electric current that could potentially cause bodily harm.

During Hurricane Harvey, as our neighborhood was starting to really flood, the power company turned off the electricity to the whole neighborhood.  The electrical lines coming into the neighborhood come through overhead lines.  But the lines in the neighborhood are in the ground.  Water and electricity don’t mix!  The electric company did this to prevent further damage to the neighborhood grid.  It was an inconvenience, but because of it, power was able to come back on a lot sooner.

One reason you would want to shutdown the gas is if you hear a hissing sound and smell of natural gas.  You would also want to do this if there is a fire in your home.  Of course, the first priority is getting everyone to safety.

The most likely reason you would want to turn off the water is if there was a leak.  During Winter Storm Uri, one of my church members checked on an elderly neighbor who was cold and trying to keep warm.  However, a water broke in her home and the water was just pouring in.  She didn’t know what to do and was probably in shock!

It’s essential to be aware of the signs that indicate a problem with your utilities and move fast.  Doing so in some cases can mean the difference between life and death.  At the very least, it can mean the difference between a small clean-up or a huge bill for remediation.

How to Shut Off Your Home’s Utilities

Knowing how to shut off your home’s utilities is essential for emergency preparedness. Here is a step-by-step guide for shutting off water, gas, and electricity:

Water Shutoff
1. Locate the main water valve.  You should identify this main meter before you need to shut off the water!
2. Turn the valve clockwise until it stops.
3. Open all faucets to drain any remaining water.

Turning Off Your Gas:
1. Locate the gas meter.
2. Turn the valve on the meter 90 degrees so that it is perpendicular to the pipe.
3. Do not turn on the gas until the gas company or a professional has inspected your system.

Shutting Off Electricity:
1. Locate the main circuit breaker box.
2. Turn off all circuit breakers.
3. If you cannot access the circuit breaker box safely, call an electrician.

Station the Tools Necessary

The last thing you want to happen in an emergency situation is to not be able to find the tools you need to shut off gas or water.  In this case, I recommend stationing some tools that are dedicated to this purpose.

For water, you should have a Water Meter Key or Water Meter T Wrench.  This is a long wrench, about 22-22 inches long that allows you to turn off the water without having to get your hand inside the meter itself.  This because sometimes it just looks nasty down there and a long T Wrench is hard to miss.

For gas, you can simply use a pipe wrench or a channel locks.  Again, I would recommend these tools be dedicated for this task and placed somewhere that everyone knows where they are and agree not to use them for anything else.  Anyone who has kids knows what I’m talking about.

There is an all-in-one wrench that you might consider that will do both water and gas.  The only reason I wouldn’t consider it is because my water meter housing is deep and spiders! 

You don’t need anything special to turn off electricity. You just need to know how to flip the switch!

This is my water meter. I didn’t realize how many leaves were in it. I was just barely able to see the turn off valve. It might be a good idea to check your meter from time to time and clean it up.

Preparing by Being Proactive

Some preppers might want to be proactive in shutting off utilities.  One reason you might want to do this is if you are going on a trip and you know bad weather is heading your way.  There are many stories of people coming back to their homes after Winter Storm Uri to see water pouring out from underneath their doors. 

Another reason to shutoff your utilities is for risk eversion.  When the temperatures were expected to drop during Christmas 2022 below freezing for a few days, many people chose to turn off the water and drain their pipes instead of running the risk of a busted pipe. 

The Training Piece

One of the most important things you can do is to train everyone in your household where the gas shutoff valve and water meter is located and how to use the tools to turn them off in an emergency!  You should stress how to do this and why.  You might not always be around.  It might fall to your spouse or kids to accomplish turning off your utilities in an emergency.

Check Out the Life Saving Skills Toolkit from

The Importance of Being Prepared for Emergencies

In conclusion, being prepared means some of the simple things like knowing when to turn off your utilities.  This is essential to keeping you and your family safe during emergencies or just to make life easier. Turning off your home utilities during emergencies can prevent further damage and a lot of pain in heartache in dealing with insurance and contractors. 

The Unseen World – Bible Study

As believers, we are called to engage in a spiritual fight that takes place in the unseen world. The Bible teaches us that there is a spiritual world that exists beyond what we can see with our physical eyes. This spiritual world is where the real battles in our lives takes place, and it is where we must fight to overcome the forces of darkness. 

1. When you hear the term, the Unseen world, what do you think about?
2. Read John 3:1-12. Why was it so hard for Nicodemus to understand that what Jesus was talking about was spiritual?
3. Why is it so hard for others to consider a spiritual world, but at the same time, go to movies, watch TV and read books that discuss it?
4. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-20 that we are fighting a spiritual fight.  What are you thoughts about this?
5. Should we consider the evil forces in the spiritual world at work when things are not right in our lives?
6. Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.  What sticks out in this Scripture?

There are other Bible Studies published on this site. Click here to learn how to lead a Bible Study for Preppers.


The Best Preparedness Gift You Can Give Your Loved One

best preparedness gift

Purchasing gear in preparedness comes with the territory.  We purchase the good stuff because we want it to last, just in case the poop hits the fan and we can’t replace said gear.  But the fact is that everything has an expiration date, including our lives! The following is something that I wrote for my email list many, many years ago.  My friend Gaye Levy, asked to publish it on her website soon after.  I realized recently that the new owners of the blog had removed the post, so I’m posting it on my site now.

Many preppers are older.  Maybe because we know the “good times” don’t last forever and have a little bit more wisdom behind us.  But with the increase in years, also comes the fact that life eventually comes to an end.  What happens to those who we leave behind?  What if they didn’t believe in preparedness like we do?  How will you leave them with an understanding of what you put in place was for their own good, even if they didn’t believe in it?

This letter is an attempt to help put into words what we can leave behind for those loved ones when or if we’re gone.  If you would like, feel free to use the letter as a template and adjust for your own personal needs.

Dear Wife (or husband, partner, son, daughter),

If you are reading this letter, then you know that I have passed from this life.  I can’t imagine what you are going through.  I’m sorry that you are alone.  But I want you to know that my faith is strong enough to know that one day we will see each other again in Heaven.

I’m writing this letter, as my final gift to you, to share with you some things that I have put in place to make things a little easier for you in case the world seems to fall apart.  In the past, I have alluded to this secret part of my life, but didn’t make a big deal about it because I felt you didn’t see things from my point of view.  I prepared with the idea that I would always be there and that I could help put those plans into action if the need ever arose. 

Unfortunately, I am not there, but I want you to be as prepared as I was.  Below I will provide you with some plans and advice.  You don’t have to take it, but I hope you will understand my heart and the reason why I think this is so important. 

I love you and I want you to be safe and prepared.

Insurance – My life insurance policy is in the 2nd drawer of my desk on the right side.   When you open the folder, you will find the phone number to the insurance company, the policy and the account number.  You should get $500,000.  That’s a lot of money, but I want you to be careful with it.  First, don’t listen to anyone else on how you should invest it or spend it.  Your life has been turned upside down and you need some time to take everything in.  You should not be making big decisions right now.

Don’t pay off the house.  Others might have a problem with this, but the interest rate on the mortgage is so low that I rather you pay the monthly mortgage and have large sums of money if you need it.

Make sure that you split the money into five different banks.   If for some reason one bank fails, you won’t lose all your money.  The FDIC insures deposits up to $100,000 although that limit has been temporarily raised to $250,000.  And having your money in five different banks gives you more options later.

Once you feel that you are in a good place, feel free to use the money any way you wish.  It is yours, just take time to pray about big purchases.

Gun Safe – You know that I have had my gun safe for many years.  It holds all my rifles and pistols along with extra ammo.  I never went crazy buying a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t need, so every firearm in the safe has a practical purpose.

I wish you would have taken some firearms training with me, but I know it just wasn’t your thing.  If you change your mind, use the gun in the black case marked “Glock.” It is a 9mm and you should be able to handle it ok.  I have plenty of ammo in the safe.  Talk to one of the guys at the shooting range to set up some training. 

I hate that you are alone at this time.  I hope that you will consider using a firearm for protection.

Also in the safe is a false floor.  You will have to remove all the ammo, which is a lot.  If you place your finger in the far right corner, you will feel a groove that you can pull up on.  This will start pulling up the false floor.  Underneath you will find a few pieces of gold, silver and $5,000 in cash.

I know, you’re shocked!  You didn’t realize that I had all this, but believe me, I was thinking of you!  The gold is in small rounds of 1/2 oz.  The silver is a mixture of American Eagles, 1 oz. rounds, 1 & 5 oz. bars and pre-1964 silver dimes.  The silver dimes aren’t just regular dimes!  They are made of silver, so they are worth a lot more than 10 cents.

I will go into why this is in the safe in a moment.  Just please know that it is for a good reason.  After you inspect everything under the false floor, just put it back in the way it was.  It is very safe in there.  The safe is bolted to the ground and is very heavy.  It is safer than having it in the bank.

Oh, if you forgot the code to the safe, a copy of the code is in “our” secret little place.

Office Closet – Thank goodness that my office had a walk-in closet!  I guess that was a perk when we converted one of the extra bedrooms into my office.  Inside the closet you will find boxes of dehydrated food/meals.  Most of these meals just take water.  They are decent, I’ve tried them myself, and will last for 25 years.

Also, you will find two “Water Bobs” in the closet.  These are 100 gallon plastic containers that you would put inside of the two bathtubs to fill up so you would have potable water to drink and cook with.  They can only be used one time, so after the water is gone, you can’t use it again.

Again, I know this is kind of weird for you, but I will explain.

The world that we live in is in a fragile state.  For many years the American people have lived with abundance of EVERYTHING.  We are consumers and we have consumed!  The laws of supply and demand will tell you that you can’t keep taking without ever giving back.  At some point, our resources will be so strained, that something will have to give.  This might seem alarmist, but it isn’t.  I have done my research.  And you know me, I thoroughly research topics that are important to me.

I’m not going into all the resources that are strained right now.  But I do want to mention the economy, because I think this is a critical one that can spark a chain reaction very quickly.

The United States has a huge amount of debt.  I’m sure you have heard me comment on that when I hear something on the news or when an election comes up.  The fact is that it is not possible to pay it all back.  Right now things are ok because of the low interest rates that the government pays, but if that ever goes up, things can spiral very fast.  Many have said that it is a mathematical certainty that our current path is unsustainable.  At first it was economist on the fringe that said this.  Now, even mainline economists, some you see on the news are saying it too.  It’s just a matter of time.

The scary thing is that they don’t know what it would look like if the economy starts to spiral.  It could be very controlled and orderly or it could be mass chaos with rioting all over the place.  This is why it is important to stay informed.

One reason I have the gold, silver and money in the safe is that if the economy does take a turn for the worse, the government might call for a bank holiday.  This is when they shut the banks for a certain amount of time.  During this time, your ATM and credit cards will probably not work.  As everyone saw with Greece recently, their people didn’t have access to any of their money for days.  When this happens, people will operate with cash.  That is why I have the $5,000 in the safe.

If you ever need to touch the money in the safe, use the cash first.  If there was a bank holiday, people will gladly take your cash.  Only keep what you need on you at all times.  This is a good time to know that you have been trained with a firearm!

If the bank holiday persists and people don’t trust what the government is doing in regards to money, people might start using precious metals.  That’s why I have the gold and silver.  Gold and silver have always been used as a means of exchange. If you don’t need to use it, just keep it in the safe.  I purchased the gold and silver at low prices, so if you ever have to sell it, you will get a good deal.

If you have to dig into the gold and silver, then things have become pretty bad.  It is possible that food trucks and groceries will become scarce at the store.  This is why I have the food in my office closet.  This is why I also insisted on keeping a well stocked pantry. 

I wasn’t always honest with you about why I wanted to keep a well stocked pantry, “I’m a hungry man” and “I like variety” and “I want to be able to go into the pantry and find anything I want” wasn’t the actual reason.  But you were kind and obliged anyway.  Now you know my real reason.  Please keep it that way for yourself.  By the way, keep the stock of toilet paper up too.  Food, water and toilet paper, you will always need it!

Again, there are so many things that could possibly happen.  It is important to stay informed.  Our friends, the Donvan’s, can help you.  A while back, when I was chatting with Chuck, the topic of the economy came up.  Chuck shared with me that he was preparing for the economy crashing.  After a few more beers and some serious conversation, he confided in me that he and Mary are preppers, people who live a life of preparedness.  You would have never guessed it.  But they believe the same way that I do.  They are very knowledgeable and are willing to help you if you will just ask.

There are so many more things that I would like to tell you and share with you.  Many of these things would be overwhelming.  You don’t need that right now. But I hope that you understand that this letter is a letter of love.  It is something that I can do for you even though I can’t be there with you.

You are a wonderful, smart and caring woman.  All the reasons I fell in love with you are still present in you today.  You are going to be fine and you are going to get through all this.  Stay close to people you trust and rely on your faith.  Faith has never steered us wrong before.

I love you.


Of course, this is an example of a letter that you would write.  Your letter should be relevant to your situation and circumstances.  Your spouse might agree with your prepping.  Or, you might not have a safe.  The main thing is that you leave a letter that encourages your spouse to continue to live the prepared lifestyle.

Where would you keep a letter like this?

If you have an insurance folder, it might be a good idea to keep a copy inside that folder. Or, if you have a drawer that is only yours, you could keep it there.  

Another option would be to keep a letter that points to your Preparedness Letter.  For example, you could leave a letter in your sock drawer that points your spouse to read THE Preparedness Letter that can be found on the top shelf of your gun safe.  You could also leave the letter in a safety deposit box at the bank or the top drawer of your desk.

One thing that I would be careful of is writing all your preparedness plans in one information letter.  For instance, the example letter above does not include the code to the gun safe.

This is a topic that could be a little deflating.  However, leaving plans for your spouse (or partner) is one of the best preps you can have in place.


Do You Have Holes in Your Preps?

The thing that finally got my wife to prep was sitting down and watching After Armageddon.  It is a docudrama set in America right after a pandemic has wiped out a majority of the population.  After watching the show, my wife immediately wanted to buy more water.

Even in that early stage of preparedness, she realized that water was something we didn’t have enough of!  Water is important and we talk about it often in preparedness.  But we all have other holes that we don’t realize.

Going back to the show, the main character finally gets “done-in” by a small cut on his hand that grows into an infection.  It’s crazy to think that a typical small cut can do that, but in a post apocalyptic world, the smallest holes in your preps can do you in!

And this is an issue because we normally think in “BIG” items.  We need food! Solar! Firearms!  But then we miss out on the small things like how important an old school thermometer would be when we don’t have those special batteries needed for our digital ones!

We can’t know everything.  And we need to be comfortable with understanding that we are going to miss something.

But to help us a long, here are some things that could be considered holes in our preps.

  • First Aid Supplies – You might have the big stuff covered like pandemics, nuclear fallout and such.  But what about anti-diarrhea medication?  What about some Benadryl? (Diphenhydramine HCI)
  • Finances – You are ready for the Economic Collapse of the whole financial system, but what about if your car loses its transmission?  Do you have enough money in savings to handle that?  What about a new water heater?  Cold showers aren’t always fun!
  • Health – You realize you are going to be doing manual work when the SHTF.  But when was the last time you had your teeth cleaned and checked for cavities?  When was the last time you had your eyes checked?  
  • Gardening – You know the importance of gardening and supplementing your stored food, but have you ever learned how to save seeds from one harvest to another?  

Many of the things above can be handled with a small purchase or learning a new skill.  But the thing is, you don’t know unless you consider it and then do something about it!

You have holes in your preps!  We all do!

What are some other holes that you feel preppers might have and not realize it?  Share it in the comments.

Alone: Prepper Loneliness

prepper loneliness

Jack lived in a small cabin in the woods. Jack believed in being prepared and had everything he needed to survive any disaster: food, water, weapons, and supplies. But despite his best efforts, there was one thing Jack couldn’t prepare for – loneliness.

As the years went by, Jack’s once sturdy walls started to crack and his once well-stocked pantry started to dwindle. He found himself feeling more isolated and empty with each passing day.

Then one day, a stranger stumbled upon Jack’s cabin in the woods. The stranger, a woman named Sarah, had been on the run from the chaos of the world and was in desperate need of help. Jack took her in, and in her company, he found the thing he had been missing all along – human connection.

Together, they worked on fortifying the cabin, planting a garden, and creating a home. And for the first time in a long time, Jack felt a sense of purpose and belonging. He realized that no amount of preparation could have protected him from the true disaster of loneliness, and that it was the love and companionship of another person that would help him weather any storm.

Prepper Loneliness is a Real Thing

One thing that I have learned in my time in the Preparedness Community is that many preppers are doing it without the support of their family.  They are solo preppers!  And although they may be surrounded by family and friends, they don’t have anyone that they can discuss preparedness with, without getting the eye-rolls or “are you wanna of those Doomsday Prepppers” questions.

If someone who preps does have their spouse behind them, I have seen where the rest of their family, maybe grown children, don’t believe in prepping.  They think their parents are a little kooky and just tolerate their concerns about the fragile world.  Preparedness-minded parents or couples live with the stress of knowing their loved ones aren’t prepared, so they try to prep extra just in case.

All the loneliness is exacerbated by the fact that many preppers believe in Operational Security (OPSEC) and not talking about their preparedness in any way.  They believe that sharing that they believe in being prepared in the slightest might translate to the golden hordes showing up at the doorstep when the poop hits the fan.  So they prep in silence, keeping to themselves, missing out on the friendship and relationships that could be.

But It Doesn’t Have to Be that Way

Preppers could and SHOULD have many friends and relationships that they can depend on when the going gets tough.  It is a common understanding now in the Preparedness Community, that no person or family can go it alone.  You will need a support system if the balloon ever truly goes up.

While everyone waits for the end of the world, it would be a big shame to miss out on the friendships and relationships that you can make along the way.  There are like-minded people out there that are in the same situation as you, looking to connect and enjoy life, not just waiting for the next polar shift.

The key here is to understand that you don’t have to give up any of your preparedness activities while you make meaningful relationships either in person or online.  You just need to be willing to make an effort to connect.

Connect? But How?

The goal is to find like-minded people.  Where do like-minded people hang out?  Well for preppers, like-minded people might be someone who likes to garden, hike and camp, shoot firearms, is active in their Neighborhood Watch, is community-minded or who volunteers somewhere in the community, like at church.

The thing to remember here is that you can get involved with any of these activities and not wear your “I’m a Prepper T-shirt” to the activity.  There are plenty of people who like to garden that don’t prep.  There are plenty of people who are involved in Ham Radio, but don’t have their closets full of food and water.  There are people who are involved in their Neighborhood Watch that don’t believe the End of the World is right around the corner, but do believe in keeping their neighborhood safe for their kids.  You can do all of these activities without giving yourself up.

And the people that you meet in these types of activities will be well-meaning, good-hearted people that you can go grab a cup of coffee with, invite over to dinner, or go out to a movie with.

And, Then

At some point, you will meet people that you click so well with that you are willing to talk about being prepared, a little at first and then more.  I mean, if reasonable people aren’t looking at the world around them right now and asking questions, they have blinders on.

But then you might find someone who is a prepper.  They might be just like you, not willing to divulge any information, but at some point, something slips out. They will say something that catches your attention and fires your Prepping Spidey-Senses.  You will look at them and ask something like, “do you prep for emergencies?”  Their eyes will get real big and you realize you have something even more in common than you realized.

A Word to Seniors

I believe that building relationships with other like-minded people is even more important for “Seasoned Citizens.”  There are many older preppers out there that find their life, much less their life of preparedness very lonely.  This is why it is important to get out there and build connections.  You have to be purposeful and find something you love to do.  I can guarantee you, there are others in the same boat.

Hobbies and Interests to Find Like-Minded People

The following is a list of hobbies and interests where preppers might find like-minded people.

  • Homesteading
  • Gardening
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Canning and preserving food
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Self-defense
  • Firearm training and shooting sports
  • Renewable energy
  • Beekeeping
  • Chicken raising
  • Pig and livestock farming
  • Home security and surveillance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Ham radio
  • Geocaching
  • Disaster relief volunteering
  • Alternative medicine
  • Military history and tactics
  • Foraging and wild edibles
  • Alternative currencies
  • Bartering and trade skills
  • Wildcrafting and herbal medicine
  • Alternative housing options
  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects
  • Blacksmithing
  • Knife making
  • Leather working
  • Wood carving
  • Solar panel installation
  • Aquaponics
  • Hydroponics
  • Sustainable agriculture practices
  • Battery backup systems and generator maintenance.

Meeting Others

The following is a list of places where you might find like-minded people.

  • Prepper and survivalist groups and forums online
  • The Ready Your Future Exclusive Online Email Group
  • Prepper and survivalist conventions and trade shows
  • Shooting ranges and gun clubs
  • CERT or Local disaster response organizations
  • Community and neighborhood organizations
  • Preparedness and survival skills training courses and workshops
  • Outdoor and camping gear retailers
  • Agricultural and homesteading supply stores
  • Local farmer’s markets and food co-ops
  • Ham radio clubs and groups
  • Renewable energy and conservation groups
  • Cybersecurity and technology groups
  • Community gardens and gardening clubs
  • Hunting and fishing organizations
  • Sustainable and self-sufficient living communities
  • Gardening and homesteading classes and workshops
  • Beekeeping organizations
  • Livestock and animal husbandry groups
  • Wilderness survival and wilderness medicine groups
  • Off-grid living communities and organizations
  • Alternative medicine and herbal medicine groups
  • Self-defense and martial arts groups
  • Military and veteran groups
  • Do-it-yourself and home improvement groups
  • Alternative housing and building organizations
  • Alternative currencies and bartering organizations
  • Boy/Girls Scouts 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that if you are lonely and don’t want to stay lonely, you need to get out there and make some real relationships.  Remember, you don’t have to give away that you are an experienced prepper.  You just need to go and show interest in a hobby or get involved somewhere to meet real people you can connect with.

Not everyone you meet will be someone you will want to grab coffee or go through the TEOTWAWKI with, but you have to get out there to find the right one. Make it a goal to connect.


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