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Home Emergency Situations: What’s Your Next Step?

When a home emergency happens, homeowners are either panicking or paralyzed. Common questions such as “What do we do now?” or “Who do we call at this time of the night?” fly in the air as homeowners try to solve the problem.

If there’s a 24-hour electrician or a 24-hour plumbing service near your home, that’s great. If none, refrain from panicking or staying paralyzed. Instead, the best response depends on the emergency at hand.

Consider the following emergencies.

Furnace Failure

Before you look inside your furnace, shut down the electrical power to prevent accidents. If you have a gas furnace, inspect the pilot light. Has it gone out? If so, you need to re-ignite it. If the pilot light is not the cause of concern, look for signs of burnt-out switches or damaged wiring. Also, don’t forget to turn off the motor and fan. If these components are not working, schedule an appointment with your local repairman.

Grease Fire in the Kitchen

First, never use water to put out a grease fire. Instead of putting out the fire, water splashes the grease around, worsening the situation. Instead, cover the fire with a metal lid (from another wok or pot) until it suffocates and eventually dies.

Once you’ve put out the fire, carefully remove the hot lid to see the damage. If you don’t have a lid, pour baking soda on the grease fire (Today).

Overflowing Toilet

Toilets overflow when they cannot drain properly, resulting in non-stop flow. Stop the overflow by turning off the valve located in the back of the toilet. This will shut down the water. Next, mop up the water before it causes more damage or injuries, then look for the root of the problem. Also, check what’s filling the float and tube before looking for clogs.

Power Outage

Use your phone as a guiding light to make sure everyone in the family is OK. Next, check your neighborhood: does everyone else have power? If they still have electricity, check your breakers to see if there was an overload or another problem triggered the shutdown. If your neighbors have lost their power too, contact your local power company and report the outage. Ask them about repair times, too.

If the power outage will last for hours, put freezer or refrigerator perishables on ice or throw them away.

Leaking Ceiling

If your ceiling is leaking, prevent water damage by placing plastic sheets or buckets under the drip. Next, go to your attic or crawlspace to determine the source of the leak. Leaks are often caused by damage to your roof or a broken pipe.

If you cannot pinpoint the source, call in a professional repairman. Meanwhile, patch up your ceiling so that it will hold in the meantime.

Broken or Burst Pipes

Your house has a main water valve (often located near the front of your home or in the basement). This valve controls the water flow. If you are experiencing leaks at home, turn the valve off to prevent further water damage. Next, inspect the popes to determine the cause of the damage and what needs to be replaced.

Home emergencies need not send you into a panicking frenzy. Instead, keep a clear head and remember the points mentioned above.

About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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