In an emergency
Call 111 if there's a fire or someone is injured.
Make it safe
Water or sewage
If a pipe has burst or water is leaking inside or outside your house, turn the water off at the main before you take any further action.
The tap that connects your house to the water supply is called a toby. It's usually found at the boundary of your property – look by the street or on your driveway. Lift the cover and turn the tap off to shut off your water supply until a plumber can fix the problem.
What's a toby? - Wellington Water(external link)
The biggest dangers from electricity are fire and electric shock. If you notice sparks or a burning smell coming from an appliance, outlet or switch, unplug or turn it off. But only if it is safe to do so. You could also turn off the breaker in the fuse box that supplies power to that socket or light.
To turn all the power off to everything in your house then use the main switch. You will find this in your house's main switch board, labelled MAIN SWITCH. If do this you will lighting and electricity to all appliances and power points.
If you notice a fault, after you have turned off the power to that area, you should contact an expert for assistance, this might be a Registered Electrical Worker or your electricity provider.
Safe living with electricity — Worksafe(external link)
Turn your gas supply off at the meter by turning the valve handle horizontal – you may need a spanner to do this. If the gas is supplied by an LPG bottle, turn the valve clockwise to close it.
If you can smell gas:
- make sure all gas appliances are turned off and turn the supply off at the meter or gas bottle
- extinguish any naked flames (eg candles or cigarettes)
- don't turn any appliances or power switches on or off (including your phone)
- open windows and doors if it's safe to do so
- leave the house and call your gas supplier.
Don't use any gas appliances until a registered gasfitter has checked your gas supply.
If a wall, deck or other part of your house has collapsed, don't try to inspect the damage yourself. Get everybody out of the house before you call for help – the rest of the house may not be safe anymore.
If you think you have damaged asbestos leave the house until a Licensed Asbestos Assessor or Surveyor can test whether it is or not.
Check what might be covered
Different insurance policies cover different things, but it's usually worth a call to your insurer to check if all or part of the repairs might be covered.
Do this before you contact a tradesperson, if you can. Your insurer may have conditions on who can do the repairs or how they're done. If the repairs are urgent, you can get the damage fixed first and square up with insurance later.
Check with your insurance company if your existing home insurance policy applies during building repairs or whether you need a new policy to cover the construction work. You may need Contract Works insurance in place while you are building or repairing your property.
Most home policies as well as contents policies provide cover for temporary accommodation and removal and storage of goods if your home is uninhabitable due to loss. Each policy wording will differ so people should check with their insurer.
Everyone with a home or contents insurance policy that includes fire cover also has EQC cover for natural disasters. Check with EQC to understand your cover.
Natural Disaster Insurance - EQC(external link)